Reviews

Girlpool
Forgiveness

(Anti)

8/10

Above all else, it is closeness that marks out Girlpool from their contemporaries. Not just the finish-each-other’s-sentences closeness of core duo Avery Tucker and Harmony Tividad, but the closeness that the group have fostered with their audience. 

See, we met Girlpool when their debut album Before the World Was Big came out in 2015, when the duo were bashful teens afraid of growing up, and they have since charted multiple developments over 2017’s Powerplant and 2019’s What Chaos is Imaginary. Not only in their music, which grew quickly from its playful acoustic indie-pop to incorporates elements of icy shoegaze, but as people too – these two characters have quite simply grown up before our very eyes on their albums. 

Fourth album Forgiveness is the latest instalment from the L.A. duo, and it continues this trend. Avery and Harmony continue to bear all on a record that is laced with nostalgic songwriting and immediate heart-wrenching balladry. 

The moments of ultra-tight classic Girlpool are probably the most impactful. ‘Dragging My Life in a Dream’ is a meandering slice of Yo La Tengo indie-pop, complete with luscious Tucker-Tividad harmonies. It is then immediately followed by the astral-country waltz ‘Faultline’, the group’s best song to date, as a forlorn Tividad sings “wish you could reimburse my oxygen… I gave you everything and then some more”.

The big development on Forgiveness, though, is the many musical left turns it takes; throughout, Girlpool dabble in DIY R&B (‘Country Star’), angular hyper-pop (‘Nothing Gives Me Pleasure’) and hint at an orchestral flair (‘Love333’). Despite the fact that this group sound like they’re really in no rush, each song at heartbeat tempo, they cover a staggering amount of ground. Forgiveness is a show with everything (except Yul Brynner), which will no doubt earn Girlpool a very special place in the hearts of both long-time admirers and first timers.

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