Observations: Girl power finds a new voice in Gaggle

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The Independent Culture

Think of choirs and you tend to think of sacred music rather than indie hipdom, but the latest signing to Transgressive Records, the label that brought us Foals and Young Knives, is a 23-strong, all-girl vocal group.

Gaggle is the brain child of Deborah Coughlin, who came up with the idea as a response to male-dominated bands. "Why an all-girl choir? The under-exploitation of large groups of singers on MTV, the under-appreciation of the brilliance of ordinary women in the media, and the complete underestimation of the awesome power of large groups of un-XFactored female singers," she explains.

That is putting it mildly. Debut single, "I Hear Flies", suggests female punk outfits the Slits and the Raincoats meeting in a school playground with a grime sound system rumbling in the background. For Coughlin, vocal ability is less important than being comfortable in unflattering costumes. She found members in bars, at gigs and on the internet. An ex-Gaggle member engineered warrior outfits with headdresses for their single launch.

Coughlin's role as choirmistress should suit her right down to the ground. She previously popped up in obscure punk-pop outfit 586, described in one NME review as "saucy" and "school-marmish". The ex-singer/keyboardist now shares songwriting duties with former bandmate Simon Dempsey. For the single, they could only record Gaggle in batches, but now the pair harbour wider ambitions. "At the moment we're on the lookout for the perfect place to record the album," she says. "Maybe a church, maybe in the middle of nowhere, with no distractions, and some beauty."

'I Hear Flies' is out now. Gaggle play the Coronet, London SE1 tonight

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