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Reviewed by Violet French

Dale Kerrigan: Noise Bitch

Reviewed by Violet French

Dale Kerrigan: Noise Bitch

Four-piece Dale Kerrigan’s debut full album release ‘Noise Bitch’ commands attention from the first bar. So much so, it could’ve quite comfortably been called Move Bitch. 

Made up of siblings Josh and Shlee Nicholls, (Josh on drums, Shlee guitar and vocals), with Connor Blackie on bass and Joel Field on lead guitar, the Ōtepoti quartet’s music is an undefinable mix of grunge, shoegaze, math rock and a cold Southerly straight off the Antarctic ice cap.

The track Dynamite brings some serious Hole vibes, but the release itself serves elements of Sonic Youth, early HDU and, funnily enough, moments where it just feels like prog-rock took a wrong turn straight into a meat mincer. 

This four-piece have created something refreshing and cutting edge, all the while tipping their hats to the heavy days of old. Each of the tracks on ‘Noise Bitch’ is a considered movement, or multiple movements, of rhythm and of mood. Which seats neatly within layers of “gear-geeked” guitars. These eight tracks bring a refreshing take on the ‘next generation’ of guitar bands, a grittier take.

Dale Kerrigan’s sound kicks a hole in the wall using reverse delay, decay and distortion, instead of the now-standard gentle overdrive or sparkling chorus. The rhythmic patterns carefully mapped out by drummer Josh Nicholls and bassist Connor Blackie lead us into an often chaotic cacophony. It would seem too, that vocalist Shlee Nicholls has pre-empted our response; “…whatever is in your head, maybe it’s about to explode.” In the case of ‘Noise Bitch’, the Mars Attacks’ effect (remember the alien brains going ka-blam?) is very moreish. 

The seemingly untameable rhythm section charges through a jungle of dissonance, guided by moments of surf guitar riffs and hypnotic and dynamic vocals. Shlee Nicholls begins with seemingly placid, ‘nice’ lyrics, until she erupts into powerful directives, none more apparent on the song Grudge. A placid “…you can do what you want to, I won’t hold a grudge,” beginning changes with the music into a direct and staunch, “I hide so I don’t see you, I hide don’t want to be you.” 

While the message of Dale Kerrigan may be that no member wants to be anyone else, this audience is certainly ready for more of Dale Kerrigan.