Girlpool's world gets bigger on Powerplant.ANTI-, 2017
7.5 / 10
Is the addition of drums on Girlpool’s new album, Powerplant, going to be a deal breaker for many of you? Come on, you know you’re a little curious as to what the band sounds like with some thunderous boom. And the songs do BOOM on Powerplant. While I wasn’t completely sold on Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker’s soft and sweet tunes on Before The World Was Big, Powerplant gives me just the jolt I need to hop on board. Yes, the world does indeed seem much bigger on Girlpool’s latest.
So why the change from the duo’s minimalist style? It’s actually a quite simple one. Says Cleo Tucker, “The songs we were writing had the potential of getting really climactic.” The drums help them deliver those big climaxes. The gold star MVP goes to drummer Miles Wintner, who fits in with the group perfectly and never upsets the dynamic of Girlpool’s core duo. They make good on trying new things; turning their gentle world upside down with bursts of crunch. This happens unexpectedly in one song, “Corner Store”. It drops its jangly happy demeanor for one more aggressive and ‘90s grunge-like. That’s the way to tickle a smile on my face.
Although Wintner’s drums do allow Tucker and Tividad to crank up the noise, their vocals remain tiny and frail. They sometimes sound vulnerable to their music’s meaner riffs. However, it gives their songs an edge of angst. “Soup” feels downright devastating as a result. Especially it’s line, “Crawl into the birdcage become a cartoon/ ‘Cause all of the flowers are too much for you.” It may not mean very much, but it holds the potential to be something revelatory for the right listener. Even with the added percussive firepower, Girlpool’s songs never fail to connect with their listeners on a personal level.