At first, it's difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes Our Girl so special, or why the Brighton-formed, London-based trio's music stands out within a busy crowd of fellow guitar-wielding-types. But if an explanation didn't jump out when they first emerged with a debut EP of mighty fuzz-soaked songs in November 2016, it surfaces with Stranger Today, a debut album of personal, emotional juggernauts that could have only been made by these three people: Guitarist/vocalist Soph Nathan, bassist Josh Tyler and drummer Lauren Wilson.
Stranger Today is a special debut for several reasons. First, because it's the sound of a band beginning to grasp their own value and place in the world. Secondly, because you can hear the trio's hunger to finally get in the same room and put to tape years' worth of scrapbooks, half-finished ideas, and a slowly-forming feel for how their first album would actually sound. The real clincher, however, is Our Girl's dynamic, and how it plays out across Stranger Today. On one side is Nathan's visceral lyricism, which has a habit of detailing and chipping away at precise moments; the first heart-flutter of a new crush; the moment a long-term friendship begins to ebb away. Around her, Tyler and Wilson's rhythm section carefully mirrors each feeling Nathan conveys.
When she sings pointedly about love ("I Really Like It"), she's backed by a major-key afterglow. When the subject turns on its head ("Josephine"), out steps a wall of taut, earth-shaking noise. They each "serve the song," in Wilson's words, moving in sync but with their own personal slant. Not least on the closer "Boring," where all restraint is thrown aside and the trio let out one final, violent thrash. They inhabit a space bigger than the first loves, sleepless nights and growing pains that define this record. It's a vibrant document of what it's like to be young, invigorated and amongst people who feel the same.