Thursday, February 29, 2024

Review: Girlschool – Propaganda EP

Currently on their first US tour in over 20 years, the longest-running female heavy metal band in history have a new EP out that’s being sold exclusively at live gigs. Something of an aperitif with a familiar flavour it features two tracks previously available on Girlschool’s 80s hit album Hit And Run (‘Kick It Down’ and ‘Watch Your Step’) that were rerecorded for the band’s Hit And Run Revisited album plus three newly recorded numbers, all produced by Chris Tsangarides.

Why do bands rerecord their classic albums, you ask? Well, the deals signed by fledgling bands may have been shrewd decisions initially, or the best they could get at the time, meaning sometimes royalties on those originals might not make you as much as reworking the whole album again. Do they lose something? Generally, yes. Too often a better player now the artist tries to improve things and what attracted the public first time round was a sound that’s no longer there. But, let’s face it the originals are often still there if you want them, if only to compare. Either way it’s still pretty much business as usual for Girlschool.

Having reconstituted themselves with the their original line-up of Kim McAuliffe on vocals and guitar, Denis Dufort on drums, and Enid Williams back on vocals and bass, with long time lead guitarist Jackie Chambers replacing the role originally held by the late Kelly Johnson on Hit And Run Revisited for the new tracks available on Propaganda its unreconstituted NWOBHM from the get-go with ‘Come, the Revolution’ with its sneering lyrics and shouted choruses, Chambers’ guitar working its way into the song and the band upping the tempo as she enters into solo mode. She also pulls in some nice pinched guitar squealing motifs on their cover of The Bee Gees’ ‘Staying Alive’ – Now first time round, it’s a little cheesy even though the disco jive of the original has been replaced with a ZZ Top riffing vibe but it could be because one’s expecting the worst, play the EP again and it’s not bad at all. However, ‘Take It Like A Band’ is the stand-out track – Moving at your standard Motorhead miles-per-hour rate, this is a punk rock road song with original riot girl attitude rubbing up against a Slade we’re-in-this-together attitude and  solo that comes in just when you expect but hits all the right buttons regardless.

If it ain’t broke there’s no need to fix it – Just give it a little retuning here and there. If this EP’s any indication Girlschool won’t be disappointing fans this summer when they bring out their new Guilty As Sin album.

Paul H Birch
Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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