With a musical lineage that alludes to Van Morrison, Stiff Little Fingers, Ash and very little else of note, Belfast isn't exactly the hotbed of talent its capital status city deserves.
It's barely a surprise then that when commentators talk of provincial scenes emanating around the UK's major cities, Belfast finds itself skipped over time and time again. While something of a sad state of affairs in general, it also means that when a genuinely exciting prospect raises its head above the parapet every once in a while, there's a huge sigh of relief as well as the sort of adrenaline rush that normally greets the winning goal in a World Cup Final.
Take Belfast three-piece Girls Names, an outfit whose music is stamped with numerous musical reference points from the Eighties, yet simultaneously still manages to sound so fresh and incumbent despite such similarities. Although the age old saying suggests that talent borrows where genius steals, it would be difficult to accuse Girls Names of doing either to the extent where any claims of plagiarism could be justified. Instead, You Should Know By Now is the sound of a band steadily finding its feet while doing its utmost to emulate the live show that's attracted such recognition.
For the most part, You Should Know By Now succeeds, mixing the energetic buzzsaw pop of 'Bloodwell' and 'Oh Girl!'(think The Mighty Lemon Drops with Shin Ei fuzz wahs) with a more plaintive semi-acoustic stroll down Edwyn Collins and Robert Forster's backyard ('Graveyard' and 'Running Scared' to name but two), Beat Happening's Black Candy playing merrily in the distance. Add to this a frantic enthusiasm that conjures up images of a youthful David Gedge honed up in his mum's spare room in Leeds sometime round '87 and you're heading for the vicinity where Girls Names obviously set their stall out.
Of course there will be those who will use such traits described above as a means of detraction, but without getting embroiled in a game of chicken and egg, let's instead celebrate the fact that a band so youthful can take the music of their elders into the modern day without so much as a blank of an eyelid. What's more, it actually sounds like they stumbled across their nuances by accident, which makes You Should Know By Now an even more enthusiastically timeless bundle of joy.
Even more impressively, at just eight songs and little over a quarter of an hour in total, there's absolutely zero chance of boredom setting in.
8Dom Gourlay's Score