Girlpool - Powerplant

by Rob Taylor Rating:6 Release Date:2017-05-05

Sometimes it's best not to dwell too greatly on a band’s antecedents. The earlier Girlpool material, for all its directness and raw execution, failed to resonate. The hipster media loved it but personally I found the debut album overly naïve and cumbersome. ‘Chinatown’, their early single, sure had quirkiness as an attribute. The unadorned voices, roughly an octave apart, and slightly off-key, weren’t however pleasing to the ear. The simple repetitive melody was unattractive and the song went nowhere, meandering ahead like a drunk looking for his car. Turtle-paced ‘Before The World Was Big’ from the debut album of the same name was shouty and irritating, and songs like ‘Ideal World’ weren’t saved by redemptive excursions into white noise. 

Sure, the DIY thing has its advocates, but the debut album was frankly, pretty crap. 

To their credit though, Girlpool have made a quantum leap in both sound and content. OK, yeah they’ve added drums and keyboards which brings more thunder, but the real difference is in production and writing. Even the voices, hitherto vapid and slightly overwrought, have been reined in and are beginning to sound like they might belong in the same company as the likes of Sleater-Kinney. The strange tunings on ‘Corner Store’ and a grungy mid-section, actually sound like they arise naturally as a representation of the band’s preferred sound. ‘Soup’ is a great example of Girlpool’s maturation as a band. The hushed beginning, the carefully modulated harmonies, the well processed fuzzy guitars and some punchy bass make for a song I could live with into the future, and coming from a point a week ago (with the earlier material) where I wondered how I could review a band I disliked so much, this is saying something. ‘It Gets More Blue’ is another quiet/loud song with good hooks, and some pretty spiffy production.  

Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad have really ignited their careers with Powerplant. 

 

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