Tag Archives: Girlpool

Sound ‘Round: Charly Bliss / Girlpool

The sisterhood of the traveling bands

Charly Bliss – Guppy (barsuk)

As Taylor, Lorde, Hayley and the sisters Haim conquer the world with Regan-era glam, along comes Eva Hendricks with enough punk-pop bonda fides to make Courtney Love swoon. Her bubbly soprano resembles Carly Rae on helium and signifies a bratty disposition that revels in the kind of teenage boredom others spend a career lamenting. “I haven’t tried, but it sounds too hard,” is their mantra. And, at a time when seemingly every pop act with a vagina pens a self-serving grrrl anthem, it’s refreshing when Hendricks rejects such gross displays of solipsism. That’s not to say these songs aren’t anthemic, too. With a band of bros at the ready — including actual bro Sam on the drums — Hendricks employs power chords and brevity in equal measure on an album that keeps the hooks coming. Four years above 16, her aspirations are zero. She’s resigned to working at Dairy Queen, but not before laughing when your dog dies. Things aren’t much better in the love department. She gets dumped on her birthday and winds up the other woman in an affair between cousins. But notice the two songs wherein Hendricks displays her humanism are named after women. “Julia” finds empathy for her boyfriend’s ex, and “Ruby” is an ode to her therapist. Feminism is for others, too. GRADE: A-

Key Tracks: “Westermarck” / “Black Hole” / “Glitter”

Girlpool – Powerplant (Anti-)

Diminutive bedroom-rock like the kind fancied by Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad often leaves me drowsy and disinterred. Their affinity for sparse production plays up the intimacy they sell by the pound, but their twee minimalism is for aesthetes who mistake bad poetry for brilliance. So two years after their full-length debut — a record that made me yawn and the indiesphere fawn — comes a follow-up worth believing in. The latest development is the addition of drummer Miles Winter, who helps formalize their songwriting, shore up their musicianship and provides a backbone to tunes that otherwise couldn’t walk straight. With their spirited duo made a worthy trio, Tucker and Tividad take the opportunity to expand their sound. If previous albums recalled the bedroom, this is straight out the basement. Guitars jangle and hum, and nebulous riffs are born from newly acquired distortion pedals. But their evolution to noise rock is undercooked. They aim for Yo La Tengo and wind up short of The Pixies — tranquil verse begets noisy chorus. It’s a simple formula, but their whisper-thin voices undercut their bolstered sound. They let their angst out on the opener about a troubled romance and settle for sensitive the rest of the way. Abandon the genre conventions, ladies. Let ‘er rip, lest we fall back asleep. GRADE: B+

Key Tracks: “123” / “Static Somewhere” / “It Gets More Blue”