Album Review: GIRLSPIT FOREVER by GIRLSPIT

 In Features, Reviews

Pay attention, local music fans. GIRLSPIT has officially arrived. After bursting onto the scene this past summer with their debut performances at Bandito’s and Crescent Collective, this forceful trio has now put out GIRLSPIT FOREVER into the streaming world, a four-track recording that the band describes as a demo release showcasing their brand of “gay space synth punk to dance to.” It’s hard to argue with that sound description which clearly lays out their charismatic intention, but we do take issue with the usage of “demo” here. A demo recording… this is not. What we have here is a solid debut recording that showcases a powerful sound that’s as bold as it is infectious. These aren’t lo-fi frameworks of a sound that’s still taking shape and finding its identity. This is a record showcasing a sound already ready to conquer the local scene with exciting grooves, dynamic textures, and riveting atmospherics. You’re going to want to hear this right now.

GIRLSPIT is comprised of Sera Stavroula (vocals, keytar), Harley Viktoriya (bass & lead synth), and Rosa Hamilton (drums), an exciting mix of musical talent that leans on each member with inspired purpose. Hamilton has previously performed alongside indie folk group Sunflower Mafia while Stavroula and Viktoriya are best known for their work with the beloved local glam punk band Toxic Moxie, who built a devoted fanbase over the past decade with their potent post-punk sound that was impossible not to dance along with at their thrilling live shows. GIRLSPIT veers slightly from that sound, swapping out the rock foundation with an electronic approach that pulls and borrows from several gripping sub-genres like darkwave and electropunk. The result is a sound that would fit right at home within a Toxic Moxie rave, but with a much more brooding and introspective vibe that offers much more nuance and intrigue.

 

Intrigue is what we get right off the bat on this release with “Epic,” a thumping synth romp that burrows into earbuds with its tenacious energy. Wailing cries from Stavroula at the onset quickly turn into a breathing mantra, as if the song is born from a panic attack. The source of that attack is ambiguous, with the chorus pointing to conceited roots (“It’s just a consequence\ Of an absorbing self\ It’s just an odd pretense\ For such a vicious sense“) while the quick verses point to a more conciliatory origin where pragmatic placation wins out every time (“Reap from sewn morals, out they bleed but“). An impish synth melody adds to the sense of tension, while also infusing the romp with a clever hook that tries to drown out any sense of reason or logic. As Stavroula repeats at the opening, just breathe in and out along with the engrossing beat.

On the next track, “Why Am I Depressed Again?,” the rhythm section takes a step back in directing the sound as Stavroula’s vocals and the synth work of Viktoriya sets a firmer cadence. The lyrics are much more pointed here, serving up classic punk scorn while staring straight into the mirror (“Was it all the drinking or is it who I am?\ Is it just a weakness or is it in the plan?“). The vocal performance here is enthralling, but what makes the song so harshly stunning is the synth hooks that contort between forlorn resignation and hopeful yearning. It’s this blend that makes GIRLSPIT such a force to reckon with, a band that can embody a feeling with ingenious precision and deliver it through an engrossing sonic journey.

 

The back half of the record follows in the same opening pattern: “Rise” serves as a rhythmic release that the vocals drift through with cathartic ease and expressive grace, while “Promises Unkept” closes the whole record with a pointed lyrical attack that Stavroula delivers with austere conviction. What stands out in this structure is just how adept the band is at turning the dials back and forth on each element. In one song, the lucidity of the vocals and lyrics is maxed out at 11 before being rolled back to a 4 while the synth modulation gets an increase, all the while the percussive command oscillates wildly in order to maintain the sharp balance. Synchronized cohesion is not a foreign concept in post-punk, whether comprised of traditional rock instruments or modular digital boards. What is foreign though is just how strong this musical barter is from a band on just their first recording.

Every piece of music in these four songs is captured with crafty clarity in the mix, recorded at the Rag And Bones Bike Co-op by Sea Erickson, who also handled the mixing and mastering. It’s crisp and balanced enough to feel each musical presence throughout, but also still hazy and murky enough to build on the ambience of beckoning resonance. The strong synth tones lord over the proceedings, building commanding soundscapes even when outshined by the vocals and drums within the mix. Those vocals are equally versatile as they drip into the ether on “Epic” and “Promises Unkept” and then ignite the spotlight on “Why Am I Depressed Again?” A bold sound like this lives and dies on the beat though, and it’s a task Hamilton far surpasses with tight grooves chock-full of punchy and snappy decorations, a constant reminder of the gutsy spirit at the center of this sound. The band clearly had some form of limitation and intention with this record, but even with its murky tenor and grimy mixture, the production choices elevate the overall experience which makes the “demo vs debut” argument ultimately pointless. What GIRLSPIT have presented here is a powerful sonic statement that exceeds the expectations of most bands, whether it’s their demo recording or fourth record. You might want to get acquainted with this sound now. Like we said in the beginning, it won’t be long until this trio is conquering the scene.

GIRLSPIT FOREVER is out now on all streaming platforms, which you can hear by clicking here.

GIRLSPIT is celebrating the release of this show with an album release show on Saturday, December 9th at The Warehouse alongside Piranha Rama, Destructo Disck, Black Plastic, and Head Empty Radio (DJs Maiya & Orangina). Tickets are $15 with the doors opening at 7:00 PM and music starting at 8:00 PM. For more information on the show, make sure to check out GIRLSPIT’s Instagram page (click here).

the-auricular-mark-black

Start typing and press Enter to search