“I’ll never understand what it means to be a man who is white because he never has to fight” sing Girlpool on ‘Paint Me Colours’.
I can only imagine that the experience of hearing Girlpool’s lyrics is very different depending on whether you’re female or male. I tick all the boxes. Male. White. Straight. No chance of anyone ever discriminating against me. What the lyrics do make me feel is uncomfortable and as aware as ever how my sex’s actions can make me feel ashamed to be male. Poor me! That’s not really the point though, what matters is Girlpool write the songs they do because these issues exist in the same way that so many amazing artists have done before them and so many more will continue to do in the future. I’ll never be a “We’re not all like that” type guy, that also misses the point because some, make that many, of us are, resulting in the creation of records like this.
Girlpool are two young friends based in Los Angeles who together create this whirlwind. All we get is a guitar (Cleo Tucker), a bass (Harmony Tividad) and both of their voices. It all adds up to much more than the sum of it’s parts. The songs from this EP have been around for a while but have been scrubbed up (very slightly) to become their first release for Wichita Records.
Opening track ‘Blah Blah Blah’ is probably the most immediate song on this record with it’s jaunty baseline and rocking chorus. The vocals are spat out and lyrically the tone is set for the rest of the EP, if not necessarily the music. ‘Paint Me Colours’ follows in a far more sombre fashion although the closing minute of this song does hark back to the opener when the pace picks up.
‘Plants and Worms’ is also gloomy sounding with the lyrics “I’m uncomfortable looking in the mirror” echoing the melancholy of the guitar progression but there is encouragement hidden in the track to go and explore, open your horizons. ‘Jane’ picks up the pace again and swaggers through it’s tale of revenge and this time all are included: “Girls and boys if you are listening, don’t ever feel imprisoned, feeling like your mouth is glued tight shut”.
Closing track “American Beauty” is a personal favourite and musically brings to mind an angrier Courtney Barnett. It’s a simple two minutes, three chords running throughout and it’s “Feeling Fine” chorus certainly suggests a happier ending than we might have expected for this record.
This is a very angry, open and honest record. Nothing gets left to the imagination and neither should it be when dealing with its subject matter. The songs are simple and very effective. The two vocals work well together, their tone never hiding the injustice they’re feeling. It sounds fresh and raw, almost like it’s relieved to be getting heard. I can’t help thinking that it would benefit from the addition of some drums, particularly on the livelier songs. Perhaps that’ll come in the future? Probably not. What you can guarantee is that what does come in the future will be exactly what Cleo and Harmony want it to be and not what anyone else thinks it should be. It’ll be well worth keeping an eye out for.
Girlpool was released on 17th November via Wichita Records. Order here.