GIRLS AT OUR BEST – ” Getting Nowhere Fast “

Posted: September 20, 2018 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
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GaOB c. 1981

The Leeds band Girls at Our Best! were only around for a couple of years in the early 1980s, but they left behind some solid tunes, including one of the finest songs from the post-punk era.

The story of Girls at Our Best! begins in 1977, when singer Judy Evans and guitarist James Alan met while attending art school. Alan was in a punk outfit called SOS, which Evans eventually joined. The group morphed into another act, the Butterflies, a purposefully pretty name that was a response to all of the negative and/or nasty monikers from the punk period. The Butterflies got some notice and had at least one high profile fan in Sid Vicious, but broke up as the decade was coming to an end.  Evan and Alan started Girls at Our Best! simply to document the songs they were writing, but after Rough Trade Records heard one of the tracks, they encouraged the duo to put out a 7-inch vinyl. In April 1980, the GaOB! debut, “Getting Nowhere Fast” b/w “Warm Girls,” was released via their own label, Record Records, which was distributed by Rough Trade. “Getting Nowhere Fast” was named NME’s “Single of the Week,” and made the top ten of the UK indie chart, but Girls at Our Best! wasn’t exactly a band; it was still just Evans and Alan. So, with high demand for a second 45, a bassist and a drummer were brought aboard.

GNF 45 cover
“Getting Nowhere Fast” is a perfect post-punk song. Possessing a killer, angular guitar riff, and a propulsive bassline, the defiant lyrics speak to the emptiness of capitalism, the passiveness of the masses, and the feeling that your failing life isn’t what you signed up for. After two exhilarating minutes, the number ends in an abrupt, dramatic fashion. Girls at Our Best! never performed for TV cameras, and there’s no known footage of the group,

The cover of the first Girls at Our Best! single up above. After their second 7-inch, Girls at Our Best! signed with Happy Birthday Records. The label put out a couple more GaOB! singles, as well as what ended up being the group’s lone full-length, Pleasure,  in October 1981 (a pre-fame Thomas Dolby plays synth on the record).

In late ‘81, GaOB! headed to America for a brief tour, which did not go well. Seemingly no one knew about the band—they had a Spinal Tap-like experience when nobody showed up for a record store appearance—and they all grew increasingly sick of each other. Girls at Our Best! called it a day in 1982.

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