Girlpool’s first record, Before The World Was Big, made a big splash when it was released. It featured mainly the duo of Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker singing harmonies along with just bass and guitar. It was a great album, but felt like it could be expanded upon. On their brand new LP, Powerplant, Girlpool add so much to their sound this latest release blows away their debut. And while the departure can be jarring for those familiar with the first record, there’s plenty of what made Girlpool’s debut a fantastic record.

The first track, “123”, is just a great opener. It starts out like the Girlpool we are familiar with, as the duo sing over just bass and guitar until about a minute in. That’s when the drums kick in along with more guitar, but the song is highlighted by a great little guitar lick. On top of the new rockers, there’s also plenty of dreamy stuff on Powerplant.  “Sleepless” transitions into a shoegazey hum. “Your Heart” and “It Gets More Blue” are equally dreamy. Then there’s “Corner Store”, which starts out innocently enough before it explodes quite abruptly into this huge distortion before it ends just as quickly as it came.

“Kiss And Burn” is another great track that features more great harmonies between Tividad and Tucker and a really groovy backbone. While Powerplant is a big rocker of a record with tracks like “123” and the stunning “Soup”, there’s “Fast Dust”, a gorgeous break in the action that is one of Powerplant’s greatest highlights. There’s also “High Rise”, which wouldn’t be out of place on Before The World Was Big. It’s led by Tividad’s bass line and features just her and Tucker harmonizing. The record closes with a building roar on “Static Somewhere”, a perfect conclusion to Powerplant.

It’s incredibly hard to pull off a huge change in sound like Girlpool did on Powerplant. Not only did the pull it off, they did it in a huge fashion. I adored their debut record, but Powerplant takes everything to a new level. It’s everything that drew me into that first record, and everything that was missing from it at the same time. The guitar work is just phenomenal, such as on the monster “Soup”, which is one of the year’s best tracks. While their sound has changed, they’re still the same socially conscious, unabashed songwriters they always were, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Buy Powerplant: Physical (via Anti- Records) // iTunes // Stream (Spotify)

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