Girlpool: What Chaos Is Imaginary (ANTI-) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine


What Chaos Is Imaginary


Jan 31, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Have you ever forgotten the time on a cloudy day? Hours slip backwards; the world feels strange; your memory of this period freezes into an isolated snapshot, where the ordinary laws of nature cease to apply. Likewise, when the listener wanders through What Chaos is Imaginary, they might forget that best-friend dream team Girlpool are behind the wheel. While 2017's Powerplant transformed Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker's plucky confessions into indie rock gold, this third album tests out even more color swaths, from Elliott Smith-style confessionals like "All Blacked Out" to the Spaceman 3 bliss-out of "Minute In Your Mind." No doubt, our protagonists are stretching even higher than before, even if their starlight is a bit trickier to follow.

One cloud pattern that might disorient listeners here is Tucker's decisively more boyish voice. Pluckier tunes like "Swamp and Bay" and "Hire" really showcase the new dynamics at play-especially the latter, a Big Thief-like ramble through town where Tucker rips into the climax. 

Our duo has certainly come a long way from shouting about sex over two guitars. Still, Tividad and Tucker stick with the conceptual this time, reflecting via streams of consciousness on how they observe other people. In the gorgeous title track, Tividad speaks about "rehearsing new realities"-and so the rest of What Chaos flickers through scenes, weighing out perspectives, never settling on one. It's easy to lose your way here, as there aren't many big choruses to hook onto; and by the time we reach the generic shoegaze of "Roses," the duo seems to have misplaced their own compass. Still, they say not all who wander are lost, and Girlpool have at least tracked several potential paths to pursue on the next overcast journey. (

Author rating: 6.5/10

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Average reader rating: 4/10


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