Girls at Our Best! Getting Nowhere Fast / Warm Girls 7″ reissue
The GIRLS AT OUR BEST! origin story mirrors the genesis of an entire wave of early ’80s UK post-punk—meet at art school (in Leeds!), start a band, self-release a 45 with a helping hand from Rough Trade’s distribution network, put out a few more records in quick succession, and then flame out well before reaching the decade’s mid-point. Their first (and best) single recently resurfaced on the reissue label Optic Nerve, whose output generally skews toward a very particular strain of C86-adjacent jangle, and GIRLS AT OUR BEST! definitely represent one of the most obvious (wanna buy a) bridges between post-punk and indie pop outside of the not entirely dissimilar DOLLY MIXTURE. A-side “Getting Nowhere Fast” is a perfect example of the genius of simplicity, with a nagging, serrated guitar riff repeating over bobbing bass and buttoned-up drums while Judy Evans’s defiant delivery and lyrics denounce consumption-as-culture mentality, before the whole track abruptly stops short at the two-minute mark as if the tape had just cut out. On “Warm Girls,” Evans pitches up her vocals closer to the airy, angelic register she’d adopt on later records, eventually joined by a quick-fire disco beat and some noisy wind-up guitar before the song breaks into an anthemic outro chant of the band’s name, up there with the AU PAIRS or DELTA 5 in the ’80s femme-punk pantheon. Total twin classic, but you knew that already.