Review: Girlpool – ‘Powerplant’
Posted: by The Editor
If you’re familiar with Girlpool’s previous work, such as their 2014 self-titled EP or their first album Before The World Was Big (2015), you will be pleasantly surprised without feeling too estranged by Powerplant, the California duo’s latest effort. Powerplant stays loyal to its lyrical structure and almost dizzy music style but it takes a major step forward.
The opening song“123” could almost be a continuation they made to sew together their older sound with the new dreamy feeling they’re incorporating. They catch you within the first fifteen seconds with their melodic whispers as if they’re right there next to you singing a lullaby. Don’t be fooled though, because just when you think you may have heard it, you haven’t. Right before the song hits its one minute mark, you are struck with an alarmingly beautiful wave of drum rolls and a clash of cymbals. The drums strike directly with the lyric, “looking pretty at the wall is my mistake in love installed,” which is both painful and powerful to say the least. The vocals switch from lullaby whispers that are full of tension just waiting to be released, to full, freely unapologetic singing. If you’ve ever had a single thought that Girlpool was missing something, you should toss that thought out the window right now.
The album’s title track is one of the highlights and standout points of the album. It remains an exceptional example of what Girlpool’s new sound consists of. If you were to make a collection of songs to take a walk with, this song should be your go-to or at least in your top five. It has a constructive body of its own that could walk beside you. The song lays out a strong drum rhythm, followed by fuzzy guitar sound and tied together by a playful piano piece that somewhat recalls Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”. A few references to walls have been made in this album such as “She’s like a shelf the way she looks at the wall/A stock market dance while the poetry falls”. You can also notice in the previous line of “123” and in “Sleepless” they mention painting the wall in the second line. In “Powerplant” they also mention a man as being a ladder later on. It seems as if Girlpool is not trying to relate these things to people, but perhaps bring life and color to inanimate objects.
It can be difficult to find a band that can make space for change without tearing down the wallpaper and starting with a blank room. They show us that they’re more than able to not only keep their past, but let it grow and blossom into something new and compelling.