Girlpool’s music is the definition of catharsis. Their repressed emotions involving vulnerability, heartbreak and loneliness are flourished into enjoyable indie rock and folk punk music. With three albums under their belt, a major characteristic in their music is their ability to convey such raw emotion in their lyrics. Many know the band for the brashy single “Blah Blah Blah” from their 2014 self-titled EP; the song contains aggressive guitars and angsty percussion. This sonic choice is seen throughout several of their songs. “What Chaos is Imaginary” lets go of the angst and instead trades it in for 14 songs that revel in the idea of change and the implications that comes along with it.
Girlpool has seen many changes since their second album “Powerplant.” One of these changes is the fact that band member Cleo Tucker came out as transgender and began to take testosterone. This is evident in his voice as it is much lower now. This change doesn’t change the quality of their sound; it does quite the opposite. Tucker’s voice adds a new facet to their music that was previously unknown.
“What Chaos is Imaginary” starts off with slow burner “Lucy’s”, a song that highlights Tucker’s new voice. The song’s lyrics tell the story of a disconnected relationship and is engulfed with fuzzy guitars. Starting off with “Lucy’s” foreshadows the tone that is present on the entire album. “Where You Sink” is another song that plays with idea of a failed relationship, but instead focuses on the familiarity one still has with someone after a breakup. “I know you live where you sink/You cut up the fruit just to stare as I bleed” sings other member Harmony Tividad. This song is consistent with sonic choices from previous songs released by the band; however, the track seems much more expansive and ambient.
The title track is a melancholic song that plays with the idea of coming to terms with the world we live in today and how to navigate within it. Knowing when to realize that chaos is all around us and that there’s no way to combat it but to take care of your mental health is the ultimate lesson this track brings. In an interview with Paste Magazine Tividad reveals the inspiration behind the writing process of the song, “This song is about… trying to find a path to forgive myself, attempting to redevelop a relationship with the world where I could find some illusion of ‘safety’ and belief in the fact that I could ultimately take care of myself.”
With this being their first album that features both members on the cover, a new era begins. An era that is that is not afraid to be oneself. An era that is not constricted by the confines of indie rock, but instead expands to other untapped genres. It’s album like these that implicate a bright future for the indie rock genre as a whole.