Album Review: Girlpool – Powerplant

Girlpool have always sung each song together, generating strength through their combined voices. Powerplant adds drums and grungier guitars to their lo-fi songs, successfully growing their sound and vision.

The songs on this album are all short – some of them fade out or just stop abruptly and often the lyrics are indistinguishable. But still there’s a sense that these are the most commercial songs this band have ever recorded. There is ambition here to move the band forward, to gain new listeners. Thankfully that doesn’t mean they lose their unique DIY characteristics. Songs like 123 and Sleepless are still a little weird, in the right way.

Corner Store has roots in anti-folk melodies and seems like it would fit in perfectly on the soundtrack to that noughties teen movie about getting pregnant by your geeky boyfriend. I wanna be a puzzle superglued to you. It’s cute. It’s almost twee. But then the guitar just roars in and almost blows up the amp. This wasn’t in the script before but such unexpected curveballs seem to fit perfectly. Kiss and Burn is poppy sounding musically but the singing is so high you’re not sure if this is a love song or really what they are singing about at all. Somehow it sounds so great it doesn’t even matter.

Fast Dust has the hazy blur of a blissed out high. It’s slow, Elliott Smith sounding almost. You’d almost like to see them push themselves further in his melodic direction. It’s hard to really love some of these songs when they are often done just as you start to hum along. On Soup there’s a real distorted anxiety in the music as it builds and spills.

It Get’s More Blue is where the ambition of the rest of the record comes together. Melody and power. There’s a great sense of innocent sadness to the lyrics. This song just seems to make it sound ok to be a bit of a mess, to look through trash. Static Somewhere is gorgeous indie pop at its best. They call me wonderful, what a joke. But it’s true all the same.

Girlpool’s voices and music generate real energy and Powerplant grows and grows with every listen. Definitely worth switching on the light.

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