Similar artists

Albums

$14.99
$12.99

Alternative & Indie - Released May 12, 2017 | Anti - Epitaph

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
It's been widely noted that Girlpool made a huge leap between their self-titled 2014 EP and their first full-length, Before the World Was Big, which appeared a year later. Their debut was a bare-bones affair consisting of songs that valiantly rested on a couple of chords and their distinctly teenage-sounding voices. But it also signaled a progression toward a more subtle use of their talents compared to the EP's antagonistic approach. Their music could so easily have ended up sounding bratty, but it's very much to their credit that their humanity shines through their sensitively wrought vignettes. Still, they've retained a wonderfully snotty, punk-informed approach, and that hasn't been lost on Powerplant. By Girlpool's standards, the opener is a big one. They've chosen to make use of a drum kit for this album, dispensing with the strict minimalism of their last record. The percussion that backs Cleo Tucker's guitar, Harmony Tividad's bass, and their joint vocal on "123" is well-served by the addition of crashing cymbals and underlying beats. The more pressing rhythm provided by the expanded instrumentation, while not missed on BTWWB, makes for a welcome change of pace here; the fullness of "kiss and burn" and "she goes by" being cases in point. That's not to say they've abandoned their lo-fi sensibility entirely. The record was originally supposed to be recorded with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, but scheduling issues led to them making it on their own. And while the idea of Tweedy's considerable talents being heard in the mix may sound tantalizing, the sole ownership and intimacy of their partnership feels crucial to the innate charm and uniqueness of the music they make. Neither potential collaborations nor a drum kit have impeded the sense of an acutely interlocked relationship that makes the more downbeat numbers so emotionally rich. "soup's" protagonist is hauntingly drawn out through their tightly aligned harmonies: "Come over to my place I'll help find your fix/you've got lots of potential/can you feel it." Their observations are understatedly, and often crushingly, insightful: "Your dad saw you crying when you looked at the world/sit and stare at your hands cuz there's so much to lose." And often wryly cutting, as on "It Gets More Blue" -- "You know it don't say much the things that he did/You'll build him a tower he'll burn you a bridge." Which is not to say the album's tone is dominated by dark ruminations -- Powerplant is brimming with playful musicality and a real sense of fun. "corner store," for instance, is a jaunty everyday tale blown up by crunchy abrasive riffs only to swiftly return to Tucker and Tividad's sweet harmonies. "static somewhere" builds suspense though grimy, chugging rhythms answered with bright guitar breaks. There's a very singular character to Girlpool's music, and it's a pleasure to be able to dip into the remarkable world they have created. ~ Bekki Bemrose
$12.99

Alternative & Indie - Released February 1, 2019 | Anti - Epitaph

Born as a restless and patchy duo dreamed into existence by teenage best friends, Girlpool spent much of their time as a band in a state of transformation. Early recordings were marked by tight, unison vocal harmonies and melodic songs played without a drummer, leaving an unusual but welcome space for their reflective and plaintive lyrics to resonate. By the time of their 2017 sophomore album Powerplant, Girlpool resembled something more in line with a standard indie rock band, adding drums to the equation and turning up the volume on the formula that they began with. Third album What Chaos Is Imaginary continues to shift, mirroring changes in both the individual lives of the songwriters and their collaborative identity. If the addition of drums took Girlpool's skeletal sound into new dimensions, the 14 songs here expand on that tenfold, adding electronics, synths, and even orchestral arrangements to the mix. Nocturnal synth pads and '80s drum-machine sounds guide "Minute in Your Mind," and the title track adds live string arrangements to this foundation. Several songs bear echoes of Elliott Smith's Figure 8-era delivery, in particularly the jaunty "Hire" and the whispering sparsity of "All Blacked Out." Other songs employ crushingly distorted guitar tones or syrupy tempos, recalling the lonely glow of '90s slowcore and shoegaze. While the album again feels larger and crowded with new sounds, the most striking difference on What Chaos Is Imaginary is how distinct songwriting partners Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker sound from one another. Girlpool's dual lead vocals and bold harmonies were defining aspects of their sound. Even in songs about loneliness or uncertainty, listeners could take solace in the audible friendship of Tividad and Tucker's singing. What Chaos Is Imaginary was recorded after the duo no longer lived regularly in the same cities, and many songs consist of just one vocalist instead of the warm mesh of harmonizing. After the release of Powerplant, Tucker came out as transgender and began a hormone replacement treatment that lowered his singing voice, adding another layer of evolution to the band's sound. Both band members lead excellent songs here, but the collaboration and friendship that the band was built on is harder to locate here. When the spirit of earlier recordings returns on straightforward and pop-friendly songs like "Joseph's Dad" or "Pretty," it feels out of place with the newer instrumentation and songwriting choices. Ultimately, there's something forced about What Chaos Is Imaginary, if only in that it feels like several different albums struggling to fit cohesively together. More than an exciting new chapter in the story of a band always hungry for change, the album points to the potential of future solo albums from both Girlpool members. Even though some of the huge shake-ups of instrumentation and songwriting styles work well, Tucker and Tividad rarely sound like they're connecting and it makes What Chaos Is Imaginary harder to connect with. ~ Fred Thomas
$1.49

Alternative & Indie - Released January 8, 2019 | Anti - Epitaph

$12.99

Alternative & Indie - Released May 12, 2017 | Anti - Epitaph

Alternative & Indie - Released February 6, 2018 | Anti - Epitaph

Download not available

Alternative & Indie - Released October 9, 2018 | Anti - Epitaph

Download not available
$1.49

Alternative & Indie - Released January 29, 2019 | Anti - Epitaph

Alternative & Indie - Released October 9, 2018 | Anti - Epitaph

Download not available

Alternative & Indie - Released November 13, 2018 | Anti - Epitaph

Download not available