In October, indie rock two-piece Girlpool released two new singles — “Where You Sink” and “Lucy’s”— and embarked on a U.S. tour. Since the band’s debut EP in 2014, featuring only harmonizing vocals and guitar with no drums, their sound has evolved significantly. Members/best friends Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad fleshed out their music with drums, fuzzy feedback, and other instrumentation on their most recent album, Powerplant. The songs got bigger, but the duo’s intimate vocal harmonies and poetic lyrics are still spotlighted on each track. These new singles push their sound farther with even more layers of feedback, crashing drumbeats, and shifting dynamics.
The band has recently undergone another change. Cleo Tucker is in the process of transitioning and has been taking testosterone for about a year, so their voice is deeper than in the band’s previous music. This new depth gives the singers’ harmonies a different texture and also adds layers to the emotion behind the duo’s songs. I’ve always loved Girlpool for their ability to articulate the injustice and fraught intensity of being female in this society, and now Tucker has even more experiences of defying gender expectations in an often-hostile cisgender world. In an interview for i-D, they explained the emotional difficulties that came with transition: “I’d never felt that alienated and disgusting. I was avoided in public.” That’s an experience I can’t personally relate to in the same way that I can relate to Girlpool’s earlier songs about femininity, but it’s a story that needs to be told more often in the music scene. I’m excited to see how Tucker and Tividad tease out the layers of this new perspective in future music.
In Girlpool’s two new singles, love is lonely. The people they long for are lost in their own heads: “You look like a kid from outer space/always trying to plan your next escape,” sings Tividad in “Where You Sink.” Around these melancholy lyrics, Tucker and Tividad create harmonies that are as eerily beautiful as always, licked by waves of fuzzy guitars. “Lucy’s” builds on a strong, simple drumbeat with melodic, layered guitar lines and powerful vocals. Whether these singles are hints of an upcoming album or just one-offs, you’ll want to watch where Girlpool is going next.
Listen to “Lucy’s” and “Where You Sink” below.
Girlpool are currently on tour with Porches; you can find their tour schedule here.