Girlpool is a two-woman duo consisting of guitarist Cleo Tucker and bassist Harmony Tividad while both share the stage as lead vocalists.
Forming in 2013, the indie rock/folk punk band released their first self-titled EP in 2014, exclusively posted onto the dyad’s Bandcamp account. Gaining more and more media attention, they rereleased the album later on that same year to reach a wider audience. 2015 brought their first studio album, “Before the World Was Big,” and two years later, we have their latest and greatest, “Powerplant.”
The album begins with the track “123,” and opens like the album plays: in a creepy sort of fashion, laced with an uncommon intensity. Taking its time with slow and lackadaisical progression, the beginning chords are enough to guide the listener into the early stages of a REM cycled sleep, as Girlpool lullabies, “123 will you list it off to me?/ How you’re sorry you feel weird in a jubilation dream/ And you’re sorry about the load/ Feeling sorry about the load.”
It isn’t until just after the minute mark that the song’s guitar chords betray the listener, as if they themself have just woken up, proceeding to play us back to life. The harmonies that Tucker and Tividad hit the listener with are nothing short of brutally powerful, as they exclaim in unison, “Look pretty at the wall/ Is my mistaken love installed/ While the moth doesn’t talk but in the dress the holes you saw/ Keep on walking back outside to see a sigh under nice light.”
The lyrics are unique and poetically pleasing as Girlpool repeats the chorus one final time to close the song.
The listener may feel as though they must continually listen to the tracks back to back in order to fully understand them, but this is quite alright as most songs are short, barely breaking the two-minute mark.
Towards the middle of the album is the piece’s self-titled track “Powerplant,” a song all too exuberant in life’s sometimes daily monotony. Tucker and Tividad depict the attempts to temporarily escape from the work that is dealing with the world by pairingadorably repetitive piano paired with majestically melodic lines. But at some point, we must inevitably return to it.
“Hold onto the hand so you can stick to the plan/ A game in the pool we can space out of rules/ Then you get out all wet you’re gonna think about them/ Working by the powerplant,” they sing.
The following track “Soup,” accurately shows the duo’s all too incredible use of sound, and the lack thereof , through perfectly placed guitar riffs. The bass lays the groundwork, establishing a trust with the listener that slowly builds through the song’s progression. It isn’t until the end of the lyric, “why are you so stuck kid, look up from the ground,” that a once hidden electric guitar swoops in with a powerfully enraged flourish, shocking the listener back to their senses.
“It Gets More Blue,” finalizes the album, being the most sonically pleasing songs of the tracklist. The ironic lyrics illustrate the slow, growing boredom of a love that once was.
“The nihilist tells you that nothing is true/ I said, ‘I faked global warming just to get close to you,’” they say in a very tongue-in-cheek sort of fashion before dropping the strong and crushing main chorus that is, “I read that book/ I drank your drinks/ I made you look/ And I’m still here.”
The electric guitar stands out dramatically, serving as the catalyst that unleashes the duo’s every last drop of emotion.
In all, this poetically astounding album is one to cherish in moments of deep introspection.