Album: What Chaos is Imaginary
Label: Anti Music
Non-Airable Tracks: None
Girlpool’s greatest strengths are their versatility in song writing. On their fourth album, What Chaos is Imaginary, the indie pop tunes are in full force. Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad have such a natural synergy in their performance, and this is so easily seen in the variety of vocal styles. This album switches between the two as lead singer and the style between them is pronounced. Tividad’s songs are more in line with Girlpool’s previous work, her high register keeping the dream pop guitars aloft. It’s nice and well, but the true highlights are Tucker’s songs. Having transitioned since their previous album Powerplant, Tucker’s vocals are low and gravely and his songs are passionate and strained in a way that Tividad’s apathetic voice isn’t.
The only letdown on this beautiful album is the lack of experimentation. Girlpool write pleasing, gorgeous music that is easy to listen to without being boring, but it’s a little disappointing how similar Tividad’s songs sound like their previous work. They’re a little bit of a letdown in the ways Tucker’s are not. This is not to say that they’re bad at all, but the flow is clearly interrupted when we come from one of the moody, atmospheric jams to a floaty, slower pop song. The music on this album takes the general form of a light shoegaze/dream pop tone with songs breaking into lo-fi rock in places.
My favorites from this album are all sung by Tucker. “Hire”, one of my favorite singles of last year, “All Blacked Out”, a very moody, slightly unsettling bop, and “Swamp and Bay”, just a fun jam led by the layered guitars that characterize Girlpool’s music. I really don’t mean to be so down on this album, it’s one of the stronger releases of this year so far. I’m excited to see where they go next and they’re on tour this summer. Check them out!
Sounds Like: Elliott Smith, semi-generic indie rock tbh
All Blacked Out
Reviewer’s Name: Bennett Tolar
Date of Review: 2/27/19