Girlpool are from Los Angeles and consist of two members. Cleo Tucker plays guitar and Harmony Dividad plays bass. In pure hipster fashion, they met at the DIY venue “The Smell”. The two struck up a close friendship and Girlpool was born. To open, the best way to describe this release is raw, stripped back and understated. Reading that description, you may believe I am introducing you to a quiet romantic indie record but that is not the case at all.
The album opens with the slightly obnoxiously titled Blah Blah Blah. The track opens with a simple catchy bass riff. The lyrical content is angry and runs with themes of jealousy and neglect: “you leave me cryin’ in the fuckin’ rain, I want ya/ you’re too busy watchin’ other girls in their little skirts with their pretty curls..”. The album opens with an endearing intensity and anger that is immediately felt through the girls’ chanting vocal delivery. I think every girl will relate to the lyrics of Blah Blah Blah at some point or another. Despite the lack of drums, Girlpool do not lose any intensity or power in their delivery.
Paint Me Colors is another track that deals with more painful neglect in a relationship. While Girlpool is not a very complex release musically, their lyrics are incredibly powerful and intense. Paint Me Colors is not the only track on the album to not only deal with personal romantic trauma but also with social commentary and the theme of contemporary feminism: “I’ll never understand what it’s like to be a man that is white, ’cause he never has to fight”. The lyrical placement is not thrown in obnoxiously as a gratuitious cry for social justice, but placed in a heartfelt way that’s very genuine.
Love Spell is a snappy thirty-six second track with more bratty vocal delivery. It’s a fun way to break up the intensity of the previous and next track. The riffs in Plants and Worms remind me of the saddest songs from the nineties grunge movement. Again, lyrically it’s stellar. Despite, the chanty nature of the vocals on Girlpool, there is a natural sense of harmony between the girls’ vocals. Jane is a stripped down rock and roll track with more throwback elements in it’s riffing. Another thing I must compliment Girlpool on in regards to their lyrics is their talent for storytelling. You may have issues with this release if you’re the kind of person who writes off a record for not being technical enough, but lyrically this should be appreciated.
Slutmouth is probably the most lyrically intense album on the track. Social commentary is also a theme here. The track runs with themes of feminism and gender identity: “Sometimes I wanna be a boy/ never really wanted girl toys..” The lyrics deal with what it feels like to be a young person struggling with being pressured to conform to gender roles. The theme of victim blaming is also addressed: “..cause I don’t wanna get fucked by a fucked society/ ’cause everywhere I look/ someone’s blaming me”. Slutmouth deals with issues that are still hard to swallow for many people in society and probably a lot of listeners. At the same time, there are plenty of people who need to hear these words, I commend Girlpool for their candid lyrics.
The mood lightens with the lustful final track American Beauty. The lyrics speak for themselves. Girlpool chant about wanting to be “eaten out to American Beauty”. The track is down to earth, layered with plenty of humour and also very catchy. After listening, it will be stuck in your head. Girlpool’s seven track debut has an intensity that makes you think, comforts and is also laden with enough catchiness and pop hooks making it a very much enjoyable record and very much worth checking out. Girlpool is a riveting and rebellious new release.