Girlpool's Introspective Songs Will Cut You With Their Honesty

People flee from the east coast to escape the gloomy seasons. Guitarist Cleo Tucker and bassist Harmony Tividad, the duo who make up the indie punk band Girlpool, left the perennially sunny streets of southern California to experience the unpredictable weather patterns of Philadelphia. It was a bold move when you consider how the two young musicians established themselves in Los Angeles’ DIY scene, most notably at the downtown club The Smell, where experimental bands like No Age got their start.

Tucker reflects, “[The Smell] is a totally magical, beautiful, and pivotal space for both of us and many others. We wanted to try something new. When we visited Philadelphia about a year ago, we felt a pull there and wanted to shake things up.”

Dealing with change, moving into the unpredictable world of adulthood, and yearning for growth are the running themes of Girlpool’s debut full-length album Before the World Was Big. The intimate, introspective lyrics are sung by Tucker and Tividad in compelling unison, giving way to a transcendent feeling that stays with the listener long after the music has stopped. 

“Cleo and I initially begun jamming together each others’ songs,” Tividad recalls, “One of us would lead on vocals and add harmonies. Eventually, we realized how powerful it is when we would sing the same words together and it makes what we say separately much more special. It was an idea since we write together. It encapsulates better ourselves individually and as a whole.” 
“One idea that we like to explore and touch on is the way change and growth are constant,” Tucker describes, “There’s always something to reflect on in the past moment. You’re constantly reflecting on what seemed like growth before. You’re always reaching for this thing.”

The attention and acclaim the album has garnered from critics and fans has surprised its creators, but they are taking their newfound success well. “It’s been really special to see people feel close to something we both made,” Tucker says. As they embrace the adventures that come their way, their friendship grows stronger. “There’s so much room for growth, both within myself and Cleo,” Tividad says, “It’s so cool to learn and explore that growth together through how similar and different we are. We’re exploring feelings and thoughts that will push us along. It’s so beautiful.”

And while they’re not limiting themselves to only playing guitar and bass, don’t expect them to add a drummer anytime soon. Tividad says, “We’re about exploring whatever we want to sound-wise, but at the moment we are definitely interested in in exploring things between the two of us without adding the element of another person.”

Girlpool is scheduled to play Wednesday, November 4, at Rebel Lounge.

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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil