Press Play: Girlpool

Los Angeles natives Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker formed Girlpool at the young ages of 17 and 18. They first introduced their minimalist indie pop on their explosive debut EP. The seven-song effort features the duo shouting in unison over bare bones guitar and bass instrumentals. Although their chord choice and even note choice is minimal, the songs still feel full. Void of layers of arrangements and heavy effects, Girlpool’s emotional vocals shine through with fulfilling clarity.

The duo became more assured on their debut album Before the World Was Big. The record resumes Girlpool’s purist indie pop sound with an absence of drums and an abundance of blocky bass and guitar patterns. They also kept up with their trademark no-frills vocals. The album’s title track doesn’t give into melancholy with Trividad and Tucker’s raw voices bouncing along simple yet buoyant instrumentals. Singles like “Chinatown” demonstrate the band’s progression through youth and sadness. Over sparse guitar notes the two sing, I thought I liked you / I was busying biting my nails.

On their second record Powerplant, Girlpool’s sound grew with the inclusion of soft drum fills and gratifying piano lines. Lead single “123” begins as gently as a lullaby before transitioning cymbal-heavy percussion for a full-fledged alternative rock sound. From there, the band dips into a shoegazey sound with low mixed vocals on tracks “Sleepless”, “Your Heart”, and “It Gets More Blue.” Standout track “Cornerstore” is a twee pop song that abruptly switches to a heavy interlude with tons of feedback and distortion before returning to a stripped-down and cheery sound. This contrast is a recurring phenomenon heard throughout Powerplant.

Girlpool’s third album What Chaos is Imaginary contains the duo’s most surreal songs to date. The properties of dream pop are present throughout the record. Guitar chords drip with distortion and seep across the other instrumentals as opposed to staying clean and simple. A couple of songs also feature drum machines and synth organs. With these new additions to Girlpool’s ever-evolving sound, the band has proven that they can add new elements without drowning out the raw vulnerability that set them apart in the first place.