Things have grown more complicated for Girlpool, and their music is richer for it. Info/tix
Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad have grown beyond the quintessential twee-pop sound that once defined their project Girlpool. Initially composed of just guitar, bass, and two voices, Girlpool has expanded into a full band with a grittier approach. Building upon the cautious foray they made into doomy, psych-tinged indie rock on 2017's Powerplant, the Philadelphia-based band intrepidly explores diverse sonic terrains on this year's What Chaos Is Imaginary. From the quasi-religious synths-and-string arrangement of the title track to the twangy guitars on standout track "Hire," Girlpool make a genuinely interesting contribution to an indie-rock landscape overrun with tired ideas. Tucker and Tividad hardly sing in the unison style of Girlpool's earlier material. That's in part because the two have been living apart during much of the recording process and writing independently, but also because Tucker's voice has deepened as a result of hormone therapy. (Rather than calling their experience a transition from female to male, a narrative which reinforces the gender binary, Tucker describes the process as their "gender flow.") Although this means the band doesn’t always sound like that other version of Girlpool , the new stuff is just as compelling.
The kinds of musical choices Tucker and Tividad made just a few years ago don't necessarily point to where they've ended up. Take a cover of Radiator Hospital's "Cut Your Bangs" they recorded for NME in 2014 . They did so without much deliberation—there isn't a moving story behind their selection. Yes, the duo's tender "reimagining" will anchor queer teenage mixtapes for years to come. But the cover was an afterthought, and very in line with the Girlpool we first got to know and love. What Chaos Is Imaginary makes it clear that that Girlpool doesn't exist anymore. —Shaun Soman