Girlpool – Before The World Was Big

Girlpool - Before The World Was BigAs bees die in their millions. As earthquakes shatter temples. As aftershocks plunder ruins. As millennia old cultural artifacts are razed and obliterated. As we hurtle unflinchingly towards an climactic abyss. As polar bears weep, fumble and drown. As symptoms of a dying world are resolutely ignored and myopically dismissed from culture. As self-obsession dances with farce to a pornographic tango under a leering streetlight. As Girlpool trudge through clichéd American rites of passage. Before their world was big. Before they were given a chance to take it all back and learn a little. Round and round we go.

It is undeniably cruel to place the music of two eighteen olds within the apocalyptic context of the world’s nastier contemporary political consequences and expect it to really feel relevant - which is to say, remove the guilt of those living in easier cultural conditions. Cultural relevance is always easier to mimic than political. Girlpool are two eighteen year olds from Los Angeles obsessed with making music that is 'vulnerable'. The idea that merely making music that's honest should be so radical is as striking an absurdity as any of our times. Girlpool are undeniably vulnerable. When they received their first encore ever (in Brighton) they had to replay their entire set again. Supposedly Van Halen had a repertoire of 450 songs when they were playing LA in the 70’s.

Girlpool can at least boast that they don’t play covers and I’m sure Dave Lee Roth will cry all the way to the bank. There can’t be many bands that would embark on a cross continental tour with barely more songs than there are band members. That telling the truth about adolescence in such plain, uninteresting terms at least serves to highlight that something has gone truly wrong in the music industry if Girlpool can be considered carriers of the “rebellious” movement, begun by women who dared to sing about their bodies without first exposing them.

Before The World Was Big takes off where their self-titled EP stopped. Two guitars, two voices, no drums - don’t ask why, there isn’t a good story - two trembling vulnerabilities. And the songs? Two minutes. Who knew hard truths about soft bodies could be so consistently packaged? Teenage suburban ennui pursues them doggedly. They have rashly made friends with it. There are no explicit sexual references to Kevin Spacey acting as an aphrodisiac. Some kind of lesson was clearly had. They are now more subtle. "Cherry Picking" is a highlight; the fun had from the self-aware play on the double meaning, sweetly annihilated by the repetition of that lyric. "Crowded Stranger" works better with the melancholy of teenage poetry and power chord fuzz.

The rest is all boys and a refusal to learn how to make soufflés.

Release: 1st June 2015, Wichita

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