Girlschool, ‘Guilty as Sin’ – Album Review
The legendary British group Girlschool have seen a lot of musical trends and an endless number of bands come and go during their nearly 40 year career, and have always managed to blaze their own distinctive trail.
That continues on Guilty as Sin, their 13th studio album, which is released, appropriately enough, on Friday the 13th.
It’s their first album of original material since 2008, after re-recording their classic 1981 disc Hit and Run in 2011. Three of the four members were there at the band’s beginning in the late ‘70s, with guitarist Jackie Chambers having been in Girlschool since 2000.
The quartet’s sound is unmistakable, which is evident from Guilty as Sin’s rousing opening track “Come the Revolution.” The song structure is simple with heavy riffs from Kim McAuliffe and Chambers and a singalong chorus. They increase the tempo and old-school feel on “Take It Like A Band,” packed with punk rock swagger.
Vocalist McAuliffe doesn’t have a huge range, but sings with a lot of texture, shifting easily from a straightforward and smooth rock delivery on songs like “Treasure” to edgier and more aggressive attitude on tracks like “Night Before.”
Girlschool have done a few cover songs in the past, such as Motorhead’s “Metropolis” on 2008‘s Legacy, Sweet’s “Fox on the Run" on 1988's Take a Bite, T. Rex’s “20th Century Boy" on 1983's Play Dirty, Rolling Stones’ “Live With Me” on 1982's Screaming Blue Murder and ZZ Top’s “Tush” on 1981‘s Hit and Run.
They go a completely different direction this time around, tacking the Bee Gees disco classic “Stayin’ Alive.” They put a hard rocking sound on it more appropriate for a dank, dirty biker bar than a shiny, trendy nightclub. In addition, they cover the folk song “Everybody Loves Saturday Night,” eschewing mellow acoustic guitars for a fully electrified version.
Girlschool have been an incredibly influential band in numerous genres and styles of music ranging from rock to metal to punk. They aren’t content to rest on their laurels, continuing to create and deliver excellent new music for multiple generations of fans.