21st August | Rough Trade
Photos: Jessica Bartolini
It’s a calm and placid atmosphere as Our Girl descend upon Rough Trade to celebrate the release of their debut album, Stranger Today. Having spent the last four years exploring their surprisingly raucous sound with various punchy singles and an unfathomable amount of shows, their first full-length merges the roaring simplicity of their loud-and-quiet dynamism, and the gushing and endearing honesty of Soph Nathan’s lyrics. So as they take to the stage to play for a polite yet excitable crowd, it seems like the right moment to fully lose ourselves within their winsome notions.
As they burst into the yearning resonance of ‘Our Girl’, it’s immediately pleasing how they can flirt seamlessly between atmospheric tenderness and decisively loud exasperation. As the chorus absorbs the quiet, Nathan coos with infatuation, before her ringing hook rears itself one last time.
Their songs have really blossomed into thundering and purposeful notions, the band thrashing them out live with a really exasperated drive that encompasses the feeling behind Nathan’s words and ensures that it’s not lost. “I get scared that other people are in my head” is screamed with release by Lauren Wilson and Nathan, the thundering drums battered as Wilson lets out a literal scream that would’ve silenced the room, if mouths weren’t already ajar from the pure power of the performance.
Our Girl’s music feels like being lost underwater in a deep bath of emotion, the rippling effect of their striking loudness causing waves above. The beautifully honest admittance of ‘I Really Like It’ rings true, the low gurgling nature of the pace and rhythm bringing home the exasperated liberation of letting out such deep feelings. It descends into a caustic whirl of distortion, before Nathan screams “and now it’s really fucking late,” in a seamless, uninterrupted process.
“Two more then you can go and have your tea,” Wilson enthuses to the crowd in an utterly genial way. They are a funny bunch and really show their togetherness here. Playing through the opening six tracks of the new record and then its parting shot, the trio show the strength of the album. The first four tracks in particular are easily stand-out singles that display their intense infatuation with singular, loose melodies and their aforementioned unity as a group.
Soph’s voice is a beautiful combination of assured brashness and tender gentleness, wringing every drop of sentiment from her voice in an elongated coo, the words rolling out. As Nathan and Josh Tyler fall into a deep, hypnotic rhythm while stood forehead to forehead, swaying loosely, the more impressionistic motions of their music come to the fore, the sheer release of noise that blankets them also arresting the crowd into passionate movement.
Playing out with ‘Boring’, the band really meddle with its anxious and brooding hook, forming it into a tangled beast that allows them to leave in a pool of feedback that is somehow cleansing and rousing.