Chastity Belt

Chastity Belt


“Are they all girls?” asks a girl next to me, clearly shocked by the four women standing before us. Ironically it is this sort of cloaked sexism that the band take aim at with their lo-fi, stagnant guitar music. Their guitarist does not shave her armpits, they hail sluts as cool, much like how men call each other lotharios for similar acts, and despair at men who try to teach them something.

Their first record No Regerts was a flat out proclamation on the fun they had in college and post college with song titles like ‘Pussy Weed Beer’, while their second album Time To Go Home was a much more mature, introspective album with singer Julia Shapiro declaring in the first song ‘I never expect much from anyone, so I’m never disappointed and I never have to trust.’

And it is that first song, ‘Drone’, that starts proceedings with its shimmy guitars and deadpan lyrics, sang in the accent of Julia Shapiro’s deep American drawl.  The singer dedicates the next song, ‘Cool Sluts’, “to all the sluts out there” and its catchy, fun nature causes some girls to dance with abundant enthusiasm, clearly feeling the song to be their own anthem.

It soon becomes clear that the lead singer is one of unbelievable quality, not only for her voice but her overall stage presence. She glides easily between her role of frontwoman and bandmate, singing one minute, stepping back and cavorting with her band the next. Her stage banter is also impressive, responding to shouts from the crowd with “I don’t know what you just said.” She is tall and cuts an intimidating figure but carries it with such ease that I cannot take my eyes off her throughout.

Julia gives up singing duties for the next song, letting her guitarist Lydia sing a song called ‘Lydia’, yep I know. The drop in quality though is immediate and with a voice that pales into comparison with the lead singer’s, the song drifts off ineffectively into the atmosphere. The lead singer then jumps back on vocals for an unnamed new song, she delivers an incredible yearn when the guitars increase in intensity and the rapturous reaction from the crowd shows that this song will soon become a stand out in their back catalogue.

‘On The Floor’ shows off the band’s merits as guitarists, ending with some incredible instrumentation as the lights cast a blood red on the band. ‘Something Else’ starts off as something quite forgettable but an impressive breakdown in the centre of the song lends itself to restoring the song’s energy as they power on to deliver an unforgettable ending.

Their second album’s title track ‘Time To Go Home’ is introduced by some dramatic drums, before out of nowhere they burst into an enthralling chorus where the lead singer ‘oohs’ over thrashing guitars. ‘Joke’, their last song, is anthemic and a rousing ending to what has been an incredible set, which sees the band’s three guitarists goofingly playing round with each other before they deliver an impeccably skilled ending.

The pace never really changes tonight but how they keep is so gripped with their one pace guitar is a secret that’s truly their own. ‘Joke’ may have been their final song and their lyrics may border on the silly but, trust me, this band are seriously good.

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Paddy Kinsella

Hi all, my name is Paddy and I have a love for everything from African music to indie to house (basically anything other than heavy metal). Gigging and listening to albums are genuinely the things I most value and love doing.