Powerplant is a surprising move from Girlpool: it features their tight duo expanded to a full band: now they’ve got a drummer! But this doesn’t change the fundamentals of the Girlpool sound, it just increases its power with fierce rhythmic drive. Noisy power-pop, released in a very limited translucent red vinyl (while stocks last).
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The Girlpool records prior to this one have Ruled Hard, which is a phrase I don’t use lightly, or really at all. I never say that, in fact. But for Girlpool it fits; I dunno how exactly they made music so jubilant and anthemic without the kindly thrash of a drum. Here on ‘Powerplant’ the band return, hard ruling still in tact, with full band fervor. Their nimble guitar lines and emo-tinged songwriting get the drummer they deserve and the occasional shoegaze chaser. It’s the same, but noisier and more pronounced, putting Girlpool’s sound into the third dimension.
At this point Girlpool’s songs feel wholly singular, despite drawing in a variety of indie pop influences that inform things like guitar tone and dynamics. Those meandering melodic guitar lines sound like they belong to the band and the band only, a trinket of their older records being repurposed for a more rattling, climax-heavy version of their sound. The post-punk sheen of “Your Heart” combines with their mumbled, doomed-to-fade pop perfectly, the riffs adjusting in tone into something more neon. “Kiss and Burn” combines acoustic strums with a full-bodied song in the fore, coated in a rain-ruined shoegaze and furious hits of the toms. They move between these moments and their slight, downbeat numbers -- which transition from folksy to slowcore -- as if nothing’s changed at all.
Perhaps it’s their best record yet, or perhaps they’re just so solid and confident in this sound that you just believe it is anyway. That these songs are ill with newly distorted fevers like the doomy “Soup” doesn’t seem to be a problem to a band who keep their internal sound and songwriting cores as downbeat and particular as ever. Rules hard and all.
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- Powerplant by Girlpool
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