There’s something wrong with me. I am currently experiencing palpitations, insomnia and can’t really taste my food properly. It’s either severe indigestion, or I am in love. Three spins of this album from Grrrl Gang, and I know now it’s the latter. It’s that wonderful.
Their music is a pure endorphin rush, bringing about the kind of dizziness that only comes from serious highs and the heightened emotions we associate with the first flush of love. It’s really that good. It makes me feel sixteen again, besotted with my first boyfriend, A-, when drinking in his room, or just thinking of his Coca Cola coloured brown eyes consumed so much of my time.
Formed in 2016 when they were college students, Angeeta Sentana, Akbar Rumandung and Edo Alventa are a trio who make the sweetest, most poignant pop I have heard in years. This discography of their work so far could have been made anytime between 1991 and now, but that timeless stamp is all part of their charm. Dream Grrrl, with its lo-fi call-and-response wouldn’t feel out of place in a John Peel Festive 50, in the days of Sarah Records. (The band name Sarah Records artists and the likes of The Vaselines and Teenage Fanclub among their influences, and it’s not hard to put them in this lineage.)
Sentana’s vocals have a disarming purity, and it’s the way they curl around the propulsive drums and fuzzy guitars that feel comforting, like a hug from a trusted friend. The songs all deal in love found and lost, admiration, and wanting something always just out of reach.
The chiming Bathroom was written after a break up when Sentana was still in high school. Sad-eyed words ache with yearning, of unquenchable thirsts. Meanwhile, Love Song is a slice of pure indie euphoria, and Dream Terrors, a heartbreaking ballad. This inversion of expectations is all key to understanding their appeal.
But the purest statement of intent comes through Guys Don’t Read Sylvia Plath, a welcome riposte to the sexism that still exists within Indonesian culture. Sentana sings defiantly, “I wasn’t born to be a mother, I was born to raise hell wherever I go”. Nobody could be in any doubt of this. Now if you will excuse me, I am off to scratch their name on my pencil case, and swoon a little.