Miss danby and the What – Like Greta Garbo

In her autobiography, original riot grrrrl Viv Albertine pretty much summed up the importance of rock and roll to music fans with her declaration that “musicians are our real teachers; they open us up with their lyrics and creativity”.

As music fans of a certain disposition, it’s likely that the music (nee ‘teachers’) that we were exposed to, and moved by, in our youth still underpins what we expect from music today.  The traditional demographic of NE Volume readers would suggest that we value artists who are unapologetic about who they are and where they come from; artists who aren’t afraid to put themselves out there and risk falling flat on their face; artists who send out the powerful message of the importance of being yourself.

Four piece shoegazing and riot grrl sounding Miss Dandy and the What are certainly the type of band clearly marked out for a career in education and future favourites of NE Volume.  Charming and honest, their new EP ‘Like Greta Garbo’ pushes a post punk, Slits, sound into interesting and fresh ground.   Across the EP Vulnerable lyrics about human relationships and changing emotions are given space to be heard by clever guitar work and tribal drumming.  Cleverly combining Sonic Youth style guitar soundscapes with a Topper Hedon drum style, ‘Greta’ combines to produce a sound that is as angry as it is sorrowful.

Opener ‘Like Greta Garbo’ kicks out with a strong message of intent, while strongest track ‘Across the Hall’ drives a riot grrrl sound with vocals (from Mis Danby) sounding like Kathleen Hanna meets Go-Go’s era Berlinda Carlisle.  It’s a strong vocal delivery that is piercing and intense and directs the songs structure.

Blending further influences the remaining EP with ‘Lemon Seed’ is the most distant and soulful track, blending Echo and the Bunnymen’s most emotional moments with the minimalism of Beach House.  Personal favourite ‘Humdinger’ takes the Bangles harmonies and places them into a post punk feel.

The What’s have created an EP well worth us investing our development in.  Viv would be proud.