L.A. dream pop duo Girlpool played Music Hall of Williamsburg in support of their new album, What Chaos is Imaginary, and it proved to be a show that perfectly captured that transcendent horizon between catchy and surreal. The result was a show full of deep moods and high spirits.
Opening the show was a Brooklynite by the name of Claud returning home to Brooklyn for the last show on the tour for this one-person show that sounds like a army of mice led by this local DIY minstrel. Apparently, Claud Mintz used to go by the name Toast but was forced to change the name after Wonder Bread tried to sue. Now the music is an all out flood of synthy and dreamy sensations that sound so wonderfully layered that you’d think there was a gaggle of grousing guitarists and a squad of sulking synth players playing on stage. The music is typified by a deeply introspective melancholy, but there were plenty of gleaming and upbeat moments of youthful exuberance to lift up the soul and pick up the feet.
Next up was the rising Aussie artist Hariette Pillbeam, aka Hatchie, who I first caught last year opening for Alvvays at Warsaw, and needless to say, I was spellbound from the first song she played. Back then she was swaying me with stuff from her ethereally bewitching debut EP Sugar & Spice, but this time her trio played lots of brand new songs from her forthcoming debut full-length, Keepsake, due out on June 21st. There is so much to love about Pillbeam’s songs, especially as they are full of wondrously arranged contradictions. Her tunes are angelically harmonic and demonically dreamy, restlessly romantic and sensually lonely, that they make your sensibilities and expectations melt with each note. They are so rocking and upbeat at the same time that they uncover a rare intensity of emotion in that thick and dreamy pop soundscape. It’s wild how many amazing new artists are igniting from down under these days, but she is definitely one of the brightest burning stars in this impressive new scene.
Finally, Girlpool took the stage, and the magical mixture of talents between Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad became apparent from the very start. As they traded places fronting and swapped bass and guitars, they often spun wildly between epic anthems, spacy jams, and tender ballads, but they always seemed to have a sense of predictive pragmatism in their direction, and it all comes off with a really gorgeous sense of pop sensibility. The new songs have a strong sense of prudence of maturity, although their last album was released way back in 2017, and even though they released a number of singles last year to help fill in the missing links of their evolution, it really has been a long time of patiently waiting for the new stuff. These two childhood best friends have a great sense of DIY aesthetics, even though they do have some highly talented bandmates to help quench their ravenous pop sound. Girlpool has certainly come a long way since I first caught them perform in stripped down style in Asbury Park a few years back, but they continue to charm my sensibilities in new and exciting ways.
Article: Dean Keim