Three years on, a few thousand beers and outrageous fashion statements later, four-piece Ponsonby locals Scared of Girls have completed a glorious EP titled Suck now available for your consumption.
Contributing to the much-needed garage rock resurgence in Auckland, Scared of Girls have penned rugged (albeit self-deprecating) songs about surviving—nay, thriving on a student budget—including the varying perils of youthful promiscuity, turbulent relationships and the (sometimes claustrophobic) nostalgia of small towns.
Scared of Girls had a start that most local and student-led bands can relate to—they found each other through the University of Auckland music group in 2014, emerging out of solo projects, other bands and various music competitions. The first two members included lead singer, Daniel Vernon, who was charmed by soon-to-be lead guitarist, Angus Blyth, and around four months after this, a drummer came to them in the form of Christan Pianta (found through the good ol’ Rock Shop). After three years of additions and subtractions to the band, they have honed their style, and settled on their core four—the final addition being bassist James Dalton (the very same that hails from Dalton Electrical!). However, they have expressed endless gratitude to their past musician pals, Bex Tasker and Zac Milne, on their social media pages and on the cassette version of their EP.
Now, they can be found either at Shadows Bar, sharing beers at their flat (which once contained the infamous and late homemade bar, dubbed ‘2 Bar 8’) or at various pizza havens in central Auckland.
The band cites influences ranging from 60s classics (think Beatles/Rolling Stones) to newer bands with rock/punk/alternative twists (think Wavves, FIDLAR or The Strokes)—and while Suck certainly emulates these influences, they retain a signature style that is borne of their genuine devotion to these bands—and to each other. Scared of Girls are arguably iconoclastic (“I’m only vegan when I can afford it”) and unabashed in their appreciation of local flavour—their music videos are often filmed at their flat (in between drunken renditions of The Chain) which often feature friends of the band. Their most recent cinematic venture involves a lot of green screen, and the 2003 anthropomorphic treasure Cat in the Hat.
Suck features transcendent tracks such as Big Happy, a vibrant and dynamic track preceding One and the Same, a track much heavier in its subject matter but evidence of their versatility as musicians. A personal favourite is the comparably dissonant Mulholland Drive—made brilliant by its spooky bridge, endearing erraticism and haunting lyrics (“I feel alive at Mulholland Drive / where the old go to sleep / and the young go to die”). This is followed by bonus track Alcohol, packed into one sweet little minute as a chaotic confession that we are all-too-familiar with: “I am a real asshole when I drink alcohol.”
Following an interview and feature on BurgerFuel Radio, Scared of Girls recently took to Kingsland’s Portland Public House to officially release their EP—alongside local favourites Shaun’s B’day and Christo—surrounded by a bevy of fans old and new. Crowd favourites were undoubtedly the historic Beach Teens, where the jiving youths upfront dropped to the floor during the quiet bridge, and the chaotic fun provided by Alcohol had everyone in a frenzy. Three tracks not featured on the album included percussion-heavy and US-influenced, Sheepskin (a comment left on this music video endorses New Zealand to the highest order); the hilarious and interactive Tinder; before the audience was treated to a Beatlejuice Beatlejuice Beatlejuice (a band described as “Scared of Girls without Angus Blyth”) original, Phallic Baldwin—a song about white privilege.
A succinct five-track (plus bonus track) ode to garage rock, there is a little something for everyone on this EP—whether it’s the overt, cutting grunginess of Full Metal Jacket, the more classically upbeat rock anthems like Big Happy or Alcohol, or even the fuzzy, alternative vibes of Beach Teens, these home-grown punks are here for your next bout of shit-talking and beer-drinking on the patio of a house you don’t own.
Scared of Girls are sincere in their commitment to their brand and demographic—which often involves a lot of social commentary, influenced by growing up in New Zealand, and their (intentional or not) encouragement of young people to squeeze the most out of their youth and make their experiences as vibrant and significant as possible.
The Suck cassette is a delight for those who fancy a throwback; it also includes original art by Vernon (also featuring throughout the band’s other projects), and a little peek into their creative process. Oh, and yeah—the album cover is a real tattoo belonging to the lead singer. Follow your dreams, kids.
You can check out their album on Spotify, at scaredofgirls.bandcamp.com or kick it old-school and spend your loose change on a Suck cassette from Real Groovy—complete with a Jessica Day cameo, ridiculous banter and self-proclaimed birding up.
- Full Metal Jacket
- One and the Same
- Big Happy
- Mulholland Drive
- Beach Teens