Album Review: Girlpool – ‘What Chaos Is Imaginary’

Posted: by The Editor

What Chaos Is Imaginary is almost sentient-it’s Girlpool’s most evocative release to date, bringing with it an expansive new take on their sound. Utilizing pop, synth, rock, and acoustics to their advantage, this third LP is a brilliant show of what Girlpool is known for and where they can go.

Album opener “Lucy’s” starts the record with feet on the ground. A noticeable theme is that it’s continuously moving-rather it be with sound, vocals, or lyrics. “Lucy’s” gives off lo-fi buzz as Cleo Tucker lyricaly explores identity. This is just one of the facets of life explored on the record, as “Where You Sink” and “Hire” both track down elements of personal history of the duo separately. “Chemical Freeze’ and “All Blacked Out” follow suit of “Pretty,” giving us classic Girlpool vibes: low buzz and synth with a twinkle effect. They each find a different feeling and capture it-from wonder to melancholy, but it all keeps moving. Though Tucker and Trividad wrote their songs away from each other, the hand-off the two have intertwine with each other and weave a collective biography of individual history, a thought-provoking batch of anecdotes.

Through “Lucky Joke” and “Minute In Your Mind,” sound becomes consistently expansive, with the latter being a percussion-heavy deep dive into likeable memories. Later songs “Hoax and the Shrine” and “Swamp and Bay” trade percussion for acoustics, setting the stage for album closer, “Roses” to return to synth the way it opened. 

The title track is the most beautiful on the record. I never thought I’d dig violin on an indie song, but it finds a perfect home on “What Chaos Is Imaginary.” Starting with lyrics “You live halfway in a transient home off the highway,” among an ambient sound, it’s an instant transportation from reality. Reflective of what is real, what is chaotic, and what is imagined. If there was a song to embody all of the themes of the record, it’s this one.

Autoethnography is a theory of self-reflection and writing to connect personal experience with the greater societal and cultural aspects of the world. What Chaos Is Imaginary is Girlpool’s autoethnographic record. I loved the new sounds, elevation, and inside commentary on life as opposed to outside. While there are some reminiscent qualities of what makes Girlpool great, the duo brought a whole new meaning to that and made it their own.

Disappointing / Average / Good/ Great/ Phenomenal

Kayla Carmicheal | @kaylacarmicheal

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