By way of their self-titled EP, Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad have already established themselves as formidably honest songwriters. After the duo burst onto the scene in a brash flurry of name-calling and snarling ‘Blah Blah Blah’s, Girlpool’s debut takes a surprisingly introspective turn. Though their debut album initially seems a more subdued, less confrontational affair, don’t let first impressions mislead. Nuanced, and more vulnerable Girlpool might sound, but fragile? Hardly. By giving their emotions absolutely nowhere to hide, they’ve set off in the bravest direction of all.
Though ‘Before The World Was Big’ is a record centred on the nail-biting journey of growing up, Girlpool don’t claim to have any answers. Tividad and Tucker’s newest revolution is just as political as their previous outbursts - levelled at slut-shaming, gender roles and bullshit - but it somehow feels more personal and confidential. Their voices crossover, intermingle and twist into strange, beautiful harmonies, and at times - on ‘Cherrypicking’, or when the chorus of ‘Chinatown’ hits “do you feel restless when you realise you’re alive?” - it becomes a mesmerising third force with a life of its own.
Girlpool’s debut quietly confounds expectations.
Repeatedly, they pose direct sentiments taken straight from biro-scribbled diary pages, chasing after things that are firm, well-outlined, and uncomplicated. That never quite arrives. “My mind is 19, and I still feel angry, I’m searching for the reason,” goes the closing track ‘I Like That You Can See It’, and there’s less in the way of answers, and more attention given over to depicting a messy, confusing web of emotions instead
Girlpool’s debut album doesn’t find its impact in immediate, visceral punch like you’d perhaps expect. It doesn’t clatter loudly and angrily into view in a tumble of spitting tirades, either. Instead it quietly confounds expectations, sneaks into view, and certain lines stick like emotional superglue. The Mouldy Peaches, Daniel Johnson and their musical antecedents Beat Happening all tinker around in the background of ‘Before The World Was Big’ as influences, but Girlpool are firmly leading their own new wave of anti-folk. Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad have already proven themselves as songwriters with a great deal of potential, and their debut record properly only confirms that they’re only just getting started. With a sourcebook as infinite as personal experience, Girlpool are an unstoppable force.