Somewhere between the artistic whimsy of The Pixies and the guttural growls of Hole are Bitch Falcon, the Dublin trio whose pool of influences comes together like a who’s who of rock on their debut album, ‘Staring At Clocks’.
Introducing the record is ‘I’m Ready Now’, a three-and-a-half minute grunge belter dripping with raw magnetism, setting a grassroots tone for the whole album’s lo-fi underbelly. From the rumbling guitar that finds its way through your ears and right down into your gut in the title-track to the irresistible bass line of ‘Sold Youth’, this low, grungy atmosphere threads itself through the entire album. It’s like a ’90s Seattle dream, but with a truly 21st century energy.
In a year so seemingly bleak, it’s exciting when something with a glimmer of hope comes along, and Bitch Falcon hold so much promise for exactly that. ‘Staring At Clocks’ has everything going for it; adventurous vocals which would impress the likes of Debbie Harry in ‘Test Trip’, savage riffs that deliver gut-punch after gut-punch in ‘How Did I Know’, and chaotic bravado that feels honest, crass, and endearingly messy in ‘Gaslight’.
But, as heartbreaking as it is to admit with an album so real and unapologetic, there’s just something missing. It has moments (‘Damp Breath’ is a particular standout) that cut through the noise, but, with an almost repetitive haze of lo-fi fuzz cloaking every track, it’s hard to pinpoint the album’s highlights, of which there are likely many given the band’s stellar foundation.
Despite its undeniable authenticity and unpolished charm, ‘Staring At Clocks’ is just crying out for that special something; the cherry on top to really set it alight. Maybe next time.