By Safiya Hopfe
Girlpool – What Chaos Is Imaginary
Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad have been jamming together since they were teenagers. It is no wonder then that their music has matured dramatically and beautifully since their gritty debut four years ago. Having moved from explosive transparency into something subtler and more nuanced, Cleo and Harmony still refuse to compromise honesty for harmony. New album, What Chaos Is Imaginary, emerges more versatile and multi-dimensional than ever.
Opening track “Lucy” sets the stage for the aural vastness and poetic clarity that continues throughout the album, marking a shift from the more journal-like forcefulness of past work. Songs like “Stale Device” and “Where You Sink” then erupt into being, alluding instrumentally to the ambiently energized shoegaze of the early ’90s. It becomes clear that this record will confront atmosphere in a way the band hasn’t yet, and for the most part it keeps its promise.
“Hire” and “Swamp Bay” revisit old habits with freshness, ensuring the band is still prepared to feel out loud. As always, they sing what they mean, but confessionalism turns toward the more opaque and abstract. Building fleshy, concrete worlds through surreal metaphors, composite scenes, and circular symbolism, the writing wrestles poetic possibilities with zeal.
The album’s unpredictability reflects the subject matter – dissociation, intimate relationships, substances and the volatility of the human mind. What Chaos Is Imaginary remains faithful to the vulnerability that put Girlpool on the map in the first place, but with a sensibility that there are a world of ways to pull it off.Girlpool