It’s not been a bad few years for the girls, music-wise. From _Marina and the Diamonds_ to _Florence and the Machine_, via all the bands that don’t have ‘and the’ in the middle, credible pop and alternative music have ceased to be the preserve of the male. And with _PJ Harvey_ producing a war album already this year, the girls are getting their hands dirty once more.
And that’s where _Cold in Berlin_ come in. Taking their cue from the likes of _Sleater Kinney_ and _Pretty Girls Make Graves_, they are a ballsier and rockier proposition than most. Sweary and shouty, their use of lyrical repetition and layers of guitars and drums allows _Give Me Walls_ to reach climactic crescendos that need to be heard live to be believed. The transition to record takes away some of the bite, but there’s more than enough left to excite.
Perhaps the best comparison is with the astonishing _Fever to Tell_ from _Yeah Yeah Yeahs_. The orgasmic vocals, filthy lyrics and the energy are the same, although this lacks some of the sheer craziness that made _Fever to Tell_ so perfect. But there are moments that approach greatness here. Opening track ‘God I Love You’ sets the tone with its “I had a girl and she was perfect, so I decided I would fuck her” opening gambit, and ‘White Horse’ has an exuberant chorus that sees singer Maya channelling the formidable Poly Styrene. But the best song is saved for last, with the exceptional ‘Powerful Woman’, which has the forward momentum of a Formula 1 car heading towards a brick wall. It’s a truly thrilling way to end a strong debut and a promise of some great stuff to come.