• Slumberland
  • The minimalist cover art
I'm glad I gave the new single from Belfast quartet Girls Names a little time, because I was a lot less enthusiastic about "The New Life" when I first heard it three weeks ago than I am now.

I'm not exactly sure why, but it may have something to do with the fact that Seattle's weather was warmer and brighter then, and it's colder and darker now.

I've never been to Belfast, but I've been to Dublin, and Girls Names' stormy yet melodic music reflects Ireland's famously dreamy-dreary surroundings. And I admit that that's mostly my Irish pride speaking, because I've spent enough time in London to know that one could say much the same about the home of happy chappies like Charles Dickens and Jack the Ripper* (then again, the band appears to have drawn more inspiration from Manchester's Factory signings than any Irish acts that come to mind).

* I'm not equating the 19th century author with the serial killer; just their reputation for making London seem like a very gloomy place indeed—rife with pickpockets and other rapscallions.

In this interview, guitarist Cathal Cully shared a few words about his hometown:

Creativity has always flourished in hard times, and times are tough in Belfast... We're all young, poor and trying to eke out a living in a town with not a lot of jobs to go around. Girls Names for me is total escapism. The main thing keeping me going at the minute is this band. That's quite a wonderful, liberating and yet scary thought.

Adds drummer Neil Brogan, a more succinct character:

Belfast is definitely better than it used to be culturally in all kinds of ways, but it's still shit in all kinds of other ways.

Slumberland (via Tough Love Records) releases "The New Life" 12-inch with JD Twitch Optimo remix on Nov 13. It's Girls Names' third single since the release of their first full-length, Dead to Me. They're looking at 2013 for the follow-up.