It’s been a while since I last put pen to paper (or should that be finger to laptop keyboard?) in order to express my feelings about some new music, so what better a way to kick off my February than with an album the more Indie minded of my friends keep telling me I simply HAVE to listen to? “It’s really raw and Lo-Fi, but also like, super smooth and s**t” apparently (direct quote from one friend just there) and who am I to argue with a description like that? Folks, let’s take a little dive into the world of Girlpool, with their brand new album ‘What Chaos Is Imaginary‘.
Straight off the bat, my friends wise words are pretty much the most apt summary I could think of. There’s a distinctly Lo-Fi feeling ongoing through much of the records forty-five minute play time, but with just enough in the way of studio polish to stop this feeling like a truly low budget release. In fact, it would be quite reasonable to call ‘What Chaos Is Imaginary’ a tad deceptive, which may not sound positive, but trust us when we say we mean it that way.
Musically, there’s not a huge amount to be writing home about, with the usual collection of guitars that switch between the two vintage settings of warm fuzziness and charming cleans, plenty of boy/girl vocal harmonies and an occasional seasoning of silky smooth, cloudy synths, all of which come together in pretty much the same way every release of this ilk seems to. However, the old adage of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ most certainly springs to mind, because although Girlpool may not be about to win any awards for their instrumental originality, but when it comes to crafting absolutely gorgeous songs, they most certainly have the formula nailed down to a fine art!
Right, let’s get a purely subjective opinion out of they way straight away shall we? Yes, I think that would be a good idea.
Pretty much all of this album’s best songs have Bassist, Harmony Tividad as their lead vocalist. Now, this by no means is an attempt to s**t on their Guitarist, Cleo Tucker, who’s vocal talents are still very evident, but it’s the mixture of the honey sweet overtones, with just a dash of no f***s given attitude of Tividad that really carry Girlpool’s sound over to the listener more pleasingly. From the gentle sensibilities of the Folk soaked ‘Hoax And The Shrine‘, through the Shoegaze esque delights of ‘Stale Device‘ and ‘Josephs Dad‘ and topping things off with the lazy Rock of ‘Lucky Joke‘, Tividad shows off Girlpool at their absolute best. Although it must be said that ‘Chemical Freeze‘ is an absolute highlight from Tucker and, when it comes time to get to work on the next record, perhaps a few more tracks like this to balance things out would be worth considering in order to show both band members off to their absolute finest. Plus, when they come together, the sound is rather spectacular, with our only grip being that we wish they would make use of their wonderfully matches voices a little more often, as opposed to harmonising with themselves through the use of studio magic.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it guys!
So, in short, is ‘What Chaos Is Imaginary’ worth three quarters of an hour of your life to listen to? Yes. Absolutely. Any fan of the current tidal wave of Indie and Hipster Rock bands that seem to be flooding the release schedule as of late will certainly not feel let down, as what is on offer is a seamlessly crafted collection of works that sound completely effortlessly pulled off.
Is it groundbreaking or likely to be one of the most raved about albums of the year? Not really.
Is it a very well crafted album that I am glad to add to my record collection and shall continue to be playing for a long time to come? You bet your behind it is!