Never settling on one mood, their fourth album’s rich sonic tapestry is augmented by a rare magic
Girlpool’s fourth album finds the duo of Avery Tucker and Harmony Tividad in fine voice as they allow their indie rock harmonies to mesh with some idiosyncratic oblique sonic dynamics to create an intriguing and compelling work on Forgiveness.
The album is a mixture of light and shade, a journey through distinct emotions and vibes from gentle beauty to odd pop weirdness. It’s an album that breaks the indie pop mould and highlights Girlpool as songwriters of depth and variety. Similar to their previous album, 2019’s What Chaos Is Imaginary, here both Avery and Harmony wrote both their songs separately, tapping into their own rich emotions and feelings.
Bringing together their vision and harnessing the individual qualities of their songs was producer Yves Rothman, whose carefully considered and gentle production touch gives just the right amount of sparkle to Girlpool’s long-honed lo-fi aesthetic.
Forgiveness is oddly the weirdest sounding but probably the most accessible Girlpool album. It sees them moving ever further away from any sort of tired notion of indie rock to a more progressive future pop sound. You can hear it instantly in the gorgeous synth washed robotic lullaby of opening track Nothing Gives Me Pleasure that brings to mind other electro pop dreamers like Purity Ring or Grimes. You can barely hear the join between Avery and Harmony’s songs, and both of them have added emotional resonance to their writing. There’s a tenderness and hopefulness at work that is redolent in the album title. Sure, there’s also a lot of sadness, but it’s the kind of uplifting sadness that offers a chink of light for the future.
The record features some of their most beautiful moments, like the beautiful traditional indie pop anthem of Dragging My Life Into A Dream and the supreme country balladry of Faultline. Elsewhere, we go deeper and more off kilter on the sinister humming dread of Country Star and the elfin-like skittering electro of Junkie. Never settling on one mood, it’s an album with a rich sonic tapestry.
It would be easy to reductively surmise what you’re going to get from a Girlpool album. They’ve always made great music but have perhaps just been lacking that elusive special quality. The broadening of their musical palette here has offered up multiple directions for the duo, but they still retain the distinct Girlpool vibe on their most accomplished album yet, one augmented by a rare magic.