Sweeping into the music industry with grace and speed like the birds of prey they’re named after are Bitch Falcon, and they’re ready to snag you in their claws and never let go. After six singles and one EP, the Dublin based trio with the unforgettable and unique name are finally ready to grace the world with their first full length. It’s said that – pre-lockdown – they turned heads and gained fans wherever they played round Ireland, and on Staring At Clocks, released via Small Pond Records, it’s easy to see why.
Opener ‘I’m Not Ready’ begins with a scream and some eerie sound effects which quickly blend into the uptempo jangly guitars and driving rhythm section. It’s an apt title – because you’re not ready. As the record continues, we’re taken on a journey through Bitch Falcon’s special brand of pacey, atmospheric grunge that’s drenched in echo and fuelled with excitement. One song moving seamlessly into the next and sewing a rich tapestry of impactful sound that begs for a replays, just imagining some of these songs live sets the heart racing.
All held together by Lizzie Fitzpatrick’s fantastic vocal delivery, it’s worth paying special mention to her style here. Somewhere between carefree and passionate but imbued with an edge you can’t quite put your finger on, they add a perfect layer to the overall picture of sound. ‘Sold Youth’ has an industrial Joy Division-esque vibe to the metallic bass line, with her haunting vocals soaring over the top of the dreamy soundscape whereas something like ‘How Did I Know’ has more of a retro feel to it. Despite that, there’s a heaviness driving the track underneath with the urgent guitars creating and building tension.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact style or genre of Bitch Falcon, but that’s also part of their charm. Experimenting with different sounds and tossing some unusual samples into the mix, title track ‘Staring At Clocks’ is the perfect example. At one point it sounds like the guitar is playing part of the Psycho theme tune and we’re about to get stabbed in the shower. Then it drops out to a dreamy, swirling middle section which makes you feel as though you’re floating on grungy clouds of electronica being crowdsurfed through a sea of smiling yet slightly sinister faces. As the track slowly builds then finally drops out to its dramatic and hectic conclusion, one can only imagine how wild things would get in the pit for this.
The upbeat, tight riffs of the newly re-recorded ‘Damp Breath’ switch the tempo and mood of the record up. With more of a traditional post-punk type vibe, it’s the perfect follow-up to the intensity of ‘Staring At Clocks’ and leads the album through to its final half. Featuring the delights of ‘Martyr’, with its delicate arpeggioed opener and slightly sinister vocal performance, through to the finale of ‘Harvester’, a six and a bit minute epic opus. Taking everything you’ve learnt about Bitch Falcon so far throughout the course of their debut album and condensing it into one killer track, ‘Harvester’ has it all, and is the perfect end to the record. Starting off quiet and reflective but quickly building as the guitars see-saw in the background, the rhythm section keeps things constant and tense as every verse sees the track getting bigger, creating a fuzzy wall of noise.
Ending on a high, ‘Staring At Clocks’ leaves the listener gasping for breath but wanting more. Bitch Falcon are clearly the kind of band with a solid grasp on what they want to achieve musically but one who isn’t afraid to test and push that boundary themselves. A very impressive start to their career. It wouldn’t be surprising to see these guys releasing something quite different on their next album or taking things in a surprising direction as they continue to expand on and further develop their sound into fresh territory.
Staring At Clocks is released November 6th via Small Pond.