Girlpool are the kind of band that teenagers bond over in the secrecy of their bedrooms.
Capturing the adolescent period of angst and uncertainty, the Los Angeles duo bring intimacy and earnestness to how they treat issues that may seem trivial to outsiders. “I am still looking for sureness in the way I say my name,” they worry on ‘Chinatown’.
It’s a friendship of mutual understanding that’s reflected in their delivery. Where Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad once shrieked, which saw them labelled a more cynical Shampoo, they now sing either in harmony or unison. On the title track of their debut album, Before The World Was Big, they even sing in a round-robin.
There’s been a similar refinement to their earlier, raucous arrangements. They now bring an endearing simplicity to their punchy bursts of folk-punk. Swapping between bass and guitar they bring a new definition to minimalism, with tracks like ‘Ideal World’ and ’Emily’ being built around nothing more than three chords and wistful vocals.
The dry electric guitar sound and confessional lyrics draw obvious parallels with Waxahatchee, even if in spirit they draw more from the DIY ethic of Riot Grrrl. They have, however, yet to learn from the dynamics that Katie Crutchfield has introduced to her music and only ‘Paint Me Colors’ and set closer ‘Pretty Play’ have any real musical contrasts.
In a 12-song set this limited palette isn’t a problem but, as they go forward, they may want to widen their friendship to other touring members.