It might be disappointingly uncontroversial to some, but Iâ€™m a fan of Jeff Buckley. Slightly more controversially, this doesnâ€™t mean that I want to hear every half-realised studio demo and dictaphone-quality concert recording he ever made.
I may be on my own here, but I believe that the spate of â€œnewâ€ Buckley product that has followed his tragic death has not enhanced but cheapened his legacy. The unfinished recordings and hours of live material have shown us that Buckley was still an artist very much in search of a voice, exposing weaknesses in his artistry and lapses in his judgment. The immaculate sheen of grace is all too easily tarnished by the sludgy pomp-rock available elsewhere.
If all this seems somewhat tangential to a review of a thisGIRL album let me illustrate the connection. At their very best, thisGIRL occasionally approach the very worst of Buckleyâ€™s Å“uvre, the barrel-scrapings that the custodians of his archives have thrust our way of late.
Clumsy blocks of grunge and glam-inspired guitar carry faux-operatic vocals which never once approach the casual, angelic mastery of Buckley. It may seem unfair to some for me to constantly compare a new band to an established deity in the rockâ€™nâ€™roll canon, but thisGIRL really do set themselves up for this kind of criticism by shamelessly plagiarising a greater talent. And where other bands (The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand) have made decent records out of entirely recycled materials, thisGIRLâ€™s catastrophic lack of imagination makes for a joyless listen.