Girl Band Credit: Steve Gullick

On their first full-length, 2015’s Holding Hands With Jamie, Dublin-based four-piece Girl Band perfected high-tension minimalist noise rock. The album’s songs are based on terse rhythms and simple, dissonant guitar loops, which lay the foundation for singer Dara Kiely’s convulsive performances—which always sound like he’s trying as hard as possible to fend off a full-on psychotic break. But on Girl Band’s upcoming second album, The Talkies (Rough Trade), the group seem to be doing their equivalent of taking a deep breath and chilling out. The tracks stretch moods out to the brink of snapping, but the energy is less barreling out of control and more syrupy throb. Girl Band’s new restraint may come as a bit of a surprise to old fans, but even within that less abrasive feel they’ve gotten better at conjuring icky feelings and high-stress sounds.   v