Girlpool – Forgiveness
It’s always exciting, if trepidatious, when an act promises a new sound. Doubly so when said sound is being described as “freaky and fucked up” in the accompanying press materials. Can Californian two-piece Girlpool, formed of Avery Tucker and Harmony Tividad, pull it off?
If first track and recent single Nothing Gives Me Pleasure is anything to go by, they’ve found the formula. Glitchy, hyperpop-leaning production blend seamlessly with old-school Girlpool melodies to create a genuine leap forward. The heavily autotuned vocals are quite unlike anything else in their back catalogue but never feel like a betrayal of the spirit of the act they once were. And the strong start is continued with the laid-back Lie Love Lullaby, a sparsely arranged ballad with frenetic electro-drums and, again, a gorgeous melody. Yves Rothman’s production takes a composition that could have fitted neatly onto earlier releases into valuable and exciting new spaces. As far as introductions to a new sound go, it rarely goes as smoothly as this.
So it’s somewhat of a pity, therefore, that there’s little else quite so daring to be found here. It’s an album that can largely be defined by a tension between old and new elements. And while that tension works to glorious effect on the first two tracks, the results are scattershot elsewhere. Violet and Dragging My Life Into a Dream are both glorious, laid-back indie-pop songs – but are they really that far removed from what the band have put out before? They’re certainly not as “freaky and fucked up” as those opening numbers. That’s not inherently a bad thing at all, especially not when Girlpool have that sound mastered so well. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that they could have pushed a little further and been that little bit more daring.
If an album is a snapshot of where an artist’s head is at during a given time, then Forgiveness is a vignette of a band in transition. Perhaps the balance hasn’t quite been struck yet, but if the more ambitious tracks are where Girlpool are heading, then the future looks exceedingly chaotic and bright in the best possible way.
Forgiveness is released on 29th April 2022. For further information or to order the album visit Girlpool’s website here. The album is available in Hi-Res on Qobuz and all the major streaming services.
Watch the video for the single Nothing Give Me Pleasurehere: