Girlschool – WTFortyfive? (Album Review)

When most think of all-female bands, chances are they turn to The Runaways, The Go-Go’s, or perhaps even The Bangles. All making big marks on Rock-n-Roll, on the more Metal end of the spectrum, one would be remiss to leave out England’s Girlschool.

Formed back in 1978, many are unaware that Girlschool are the longest-running all-female Rock band; this means that they have been consistently active for forty plus years! Not something to be overlooked, they have withstood the ups and downs of the music world, survived the ‘90s, and are pioneers in breaking down the walls for others ladies in Heavy Metal. Furthermore, they made many critics back in the day eat their words about their act just being a novelty by proving they are fantastic musicians. Heavy, furious, and quite Punk-driven, Girlschool deserves a lot of praise.

Still rocking hard all these years later, on July 28, 2023 they returned with the brand-new album WTFortyfive? through Silver Lining Music. The band’s first studio record in eight long years, it also marks their fourteenth studio album. That in mind, it stands to reason that dedicated fans might be curious what to expect after all this time. A good question, compared to their most contemporary record, 2015’s Guilty As Sin, WTFortyfive? is a lot less produced and a bit more raw. While Guilty As Sin felt more like modern Heavy Metal, this new album feels more Hard Rock at times, while punkier at others.

A balancing act, the album features co-founders Kim McAuliffe on guitars/lead vocals and Denise Dufort on drums respectively, with long-time member Jackie Chambers remaining on lead guitar, while Tracey Lamb (who was featured on 1988’s Take A Bite) is back on bass. A very solid lineup, another bold aspect to look for on this new album is McAuliffe’s approach to the vocals. Less smooth, she opts to take a rough approach, and it works; especially on the lead single “It Is What It Is,” plus “Believing In You,” as well as “Are You Ready?”

Filled with strong riffs, plenty of chanting backing vocals, and blistering riffs, there are few mellow points throughout WTFortyfive?. Difficult to pinpoint where the album peaks and dives, because of its consistently, other bold standouts include the must listen single “Cold Dark Heart,” “Bump in the Night,” and closer “Born To Raise Hell.” The last of these aforementioned highlights, “Born To Raise Hell,” is really a Rock lover’s fantasy; featuring appearances from Saxon’s Biff Byford, Motörhead’s Phil Campbell, and Guns N’ Roses’ Duff McKagan.

In all, WTFortyfive? is a bold return for Girlschool who has spent a portion of the last decade concentrating more on live performances. Putting their best foot forward, they create an album that is a loud, ruckus Hard Rock that pays homage to the past while remaining strongly cemented in the present. Getting better with each listen, Cryptic Rock gives WTFortyfive? 4 out of 5 stars. 

Girlschool – WTFortyfive? / Silver Lining Records (2023)
Like the in-depth, diverse coverage of Cryptic Rock? Help us in support to keep the magazine going strong for years to come with a small donation.

No comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *