Gurr Are Further Proof That Garage Punk Rules Again
Get to know the Berlin duo, whose sticky, sweaty, glorious “Hot Summer” video we're premiering.
Lead image by Rowan Allen courtesy of PR
It’s mid-afternoon during a heatwave, and I am squinting at Gurr through a computer screen in the corner of the office. Andreya – framed by a dark fringe, in a DIY t-shirt that reads ‘Balagan’ – and Laura – quieter, candyfloss-haired, wearing stripes – are telling me about how they first met. It was 2011 in their hometown of Berlin, and they were both doing North American Studies at the same university. “Laura used to walk around with a Joy Division tote back, and I had a Ramones one, so we became friends,” Andreya says, smiling through the webcam. “Then, a year later we went travelling through England for five weeks, and pretended we were in a band… but we didn’t have any songs! So when we came back we went to a practise room and wrote some.”
The sweet, easy nonchalance with which Andreya (who plays guitar in the band, while Laura's on drums) tells me this story is a feeling that permeates a lot of their music. Gurr's first album, In My Head, released two years ago, is a 30-minute collection of bright, raucous guitar pop. “Give me those big false eyes of wonder / Sticky kisses, a big jacket which we can hide under,” they sing in “Breathless”, their riffs pumped up and excitable, like a more polished Bratmobile. In another, “Rollerskate”, their harmonies are sugary and intertwined, but also sludgy, like Bikini Kill covering a 60s girl group. Whichever way you spin it, they’ve got a distinctly American flavour; the kind that comes from obsessing over the country’s rock heritage. “Mac Demarco had just released his first album, and we’d just seen The Breeders perform live,” Andreya says, explaining how a year in the US around the time of that album fed into their sound, “so I think that showed up in our music too.”
But that was a while back, and a lot has happened since then. They’ve quit their day jobs. They’ve toured with Shame and The Go Team. And now they’re working on a new album, the first track and video of which we’re premiering above in the shape of “Hot Summer”. It’s a sticky, sweaty, delirious set of visuals, full of feverish heat that emanates from the screen like a holiday that’s gone on too long. “When we sent the director [Maximilian Wiedenhofer] the track, we explained that it’s about a summer where you think, ‘I should be happy but I’m not’, when the sun is shining but you still feel shitty,” Andreya says. “And I think this video was his approach to making that. It’s got these summer scenes with water and nearly naked people, but there are also these weird accessories that they’re wearing, like the household supplies that are wrapped around people and the food.”
The track itself is glorious, all energetic garage punk riffs and guitar solos and hypnotic, circular vocals. But Gurr tell me it’s misleading in relation to what’s on the rest of their new album. “It gets quite sad after this,” Andreya says, “There’s more of a 90s, Breeders kind of vibe, with some of them even a bit Nirvana-ish, and some of the songs are a bit 60s psych-y, like Velvet Underground.” Laura explains how their new material also reflects a sense of instability, as they’ve recorded most of it in snatches on the road, or at studio sessions between festivals. “Doing music is the greatest thing in the world but it’s also the scariest,” she says, “Millennials can relate to that because we’re all having these weird working situations. That pops up in a lot of the songs.”
Ultimately, though, even when touching upon bleaker themes, Gurr’s unruly guitar music makes you feel like letting go. It’s not music to get in your feels about. It’s music to get rid of them for a little while. Because yeah, you might feel shitty on a hot day, and yeah you might not know what the rest of your life looks like, but whatever: throw caution to the wind, jump around a bit, wait for time to pass, it's all you can do.
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This article originally appeared on Noisey UK.