Sea Of Tranquility

The Web Source for Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal & Jazz-Fusion
  Search   in       
Main Menu

Girlschool: WTFortyfive?

It’s been 8 years since we last had a roll call from the Girlschool and I’m presuming that many had believed that this institution had closed its doors for good. Evidence would definitely prove the contrary however, with the excellently titled WTFortyfive? both offering the belligerent good times that this band have always had at their disposal and a tongue in cheek acknowledgement that they’ve been on the go for four and half decades! Equally impressive is that Girlschool have made it this far down the line with the four ladies involved still including ever presents Kim McAuliffe (guitar/vocals) and Denise Dufort (drums) alongside Jackie Chambers (guitar/backing vocals), who’s spent more than 20 years in the ranks and Tracey Lamb (bass), who while having joined this line-up in 2019 is now in her third stint in the band, with the first stretching back to 1987.

With all of that in mind what’s least surprising is just how smooth, slick and authentic this four-piece sound, a swagger and confidence possessed by all of the 12 tracks here that many a band a quarter the age of Girlschool could learn from. From the off, while WTFortyfive? does find a couple of songs looking over this band’s incredible journey through the world of rock and metal, it’s clear that this is no nostalgia trip or pipe and slippers reminiscence of past glories. “It Is What It Is” thrums into life through Tracey Lamb’s guttural bass before exploding into a punky, memorable shout and holler about getting on with it no matter what’s come before. If your aim was to punch the air and maybe get those neck muscles bulging with some head-banging, it’s already mission accomplished. The groove and grind of “Bump In The Night” proves a whole host of fun, McAuliffe’s vocals just as snappy and snarling as they’ve always been, but that she still hits every note required with an ease that immediately gets you onside is where her vocal strengths always have - and still do - hit hardest.

That said, this lady’s guitar playing is also still bang on the button, the combination of her six string prowess and that of Jackie Chambers resolutely razor sharp. With Dufort pounding the songs into place from behind the kit, the lyrical nostalgia fest of “Barmy Army” is another anthem to be hollered by a crowd in a sweaty venue, while “It’s A Mess” takes a look at the world at large and asks, quite simply, ‘WTF?’ with a stinging riff and uptempo chorus that rivals the best output in this band’s catalogue. Add in the pummelling romp of “Are You Ready?” and the urgently infectious “Up To No Good” (ah, so this is where The Hives learnt their tricks from!) and all that’s left to bring this rock n roll party to a close is a trio of superstar cameos. And as such, Biff Byford of Saxon, Guns N Roses’ Duff McKagen and Phil Campbell of Girlschool’s old mates Motorhead turn up to power through a rip snorting version of the ‘head classic “Born To Raise Hell” - and they do indeed do it real well!

WTFortyfive? Rather than a question, that album title would appear to be more of a statement of intent. With four and half decades behind them, Girlschool are only just getting started!

Track Listing
1. It Is What It Is
2. Cold Dark Heart
3. Bump In The Night
4. Barmy Army
5. Invisible Killer
6. Believing In You
7. It’s A Mess
8. Into The Night
9. Are You Ready?
10. Up To No Good
11. Party
12. Born To Raise Hell (feat. Biff Byford, Phil Campbell, Duff McKagen)

Added: October 6th 2023
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Girlschool @ facebook
Hits: 854
Language: english

[ Printer Friendly Page Printer Friendly Page ]
[ Send to a Friend Send to a Friend ]


[ Back to the Reviews Index | Post Comment ]

» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Girlschool: WTFortyfive?
Posted by Brandon Miles, SoT Staff Writer on 2023-10-05 11:19:19
My Score:

Girlschool are a legendary all female four piece metal band from England that really need no introduction. The band probably received most of their notoriety from being Motörhead's cohorts and partners in crime in the early 80's, with their split "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" EP holding a special place in the annuls of NWOBHM history, but they certainly had their fair share of great tunes back in the day and a legacy of their own. These ladies weren't trying to be cute or entertain you with their good looks or poppy sensibilities, they were rough and tough rocker chicks that played gnarly riffs and double kick drums aplenty. That's not particularly common now, and back then I can only imagine how rare it was to see or hear an all female metal band, and to top it off as Lemmy used to say to naysayers of the group; "They're better than you!". Their new release "WTFortyfive" is a testament to the band's (you guessed it!) 45th year as an act, and while it's admirable that they are still chugging along in the 2020's, this release serves more as a reminder of Girlschool's enduring legacy than a good standalone listen.

What we have here are 12 mid-paced to slightly bouncy tracks of blue collar old school heavy metal. The songs are fairly energetic, and certainly more energetic than I expect most people could muster in their 60's, but most of the songs are fairly repetitive. The individual performances are passible, but Girlschool are the kind of band that really exudes attitude and middle finger-raising rebellion more so than technical wizardry. That's all well and fine, but the riffs are all fairly pedestrian and the vocals aren't anything to write home about either. The shouty gang vocals are much appreciated here, as it lends itself well to smoky biker bar vibe "WTF?" has going for it, which is the bulk of the album's appeal. It's a fairly simple and brisk listen, and not terrible by any means, but I couldn't see myself spinning it more than once or twice more before shelving it and reaching for something from the band's embryonic period. Think late Motörhead slowed down significantly with a shit ton of gang vocals and worse guitar solos. Don't get me wrong, you should definitely listen to Girlschool, just reach for "Demolition" instead of this Joan Jett-esque jukebox rocker.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
For information regarding where to send CD promos and advertising, please see our FAQ page.
If you have questions or comments, please Contact Us.
Please see our Policies Page for Site Usage, Privacy, and Copyright Policies.

All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all other content Sea of Tranquility

SoT is Hosted by