Keep things simple and rock 'n' roll will be forever: Girlpool are founded on these honourable principles, sticking to guitar and bass and hoping it'll translate louder than the biggest of the big bands. Their self-titled debut is a love letter to the days of DIY, lo-fi nonsense, a place where all the best pop songs came from.
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On paper, it sounds like it’ll be a no frills good time: a couple of DIY punx make quick tunes with a little bit of twee pop spit -- such as the chants of “blah blah blah” on “Blah Blah Blah” or the near-robotic, almost spoken intro to “Love Spell” -- and then we all go home, safe in the knowledge that things are a little sillier than we think. Delve further, though, and you’ll find Girlpool making poignant songs about righteous frustration and vicious social cycles, unearned privilege and personal hang-ups. You’ll find these ones in-between the fun songs, the quick songs, the ones that sound like Guided By Voices sitting behind Beat Happening in a traffic jam.
You have to seek them out, because they don’t contain the same energy as the pop nuggets do, but these moments have a strange magic to them, elevated because they’re on a record of thrown-off punk songs, and so grab our attention when our headspace is somewhere else. “Jane” offers a motivational manifesto about believing in yourself, told over squealing guitars and frowning bass. “Slutmouth” has the duo joining in on vocal harmonies that strengthen their fury towards male privilege and socially-ingrained misogyny -- the lyric “I go to work every day / just to be slut-shamed one day” is laid bare over a stark riff that goes nowhere, spinning in place like a gyroscope. “Paint Me Colors” is much the same, lyrics about gender-codified struggles layered over lethargic riffs that suddenly turn into an outburst of scratchy chords. It’s fitting for a record of constant surprises and spontaneous significance: they’re drinking wine one minute and saying incredibly important things the next, and they’re always ready to strike with the next pop-punk trick -- as long as it makes you stop and think, just for one fucking minute.
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