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Polaroids Of Androids

Record Reviews

8.6

Girls
Album

My recreational drug using acquaintances tell me this is a great album to come down to. I am not completely sure I understand what that means or if there is a pre-defined iTunes genre for such music - but in many ways it does assist in describing Girls' music. On the surface this record feels like a great companion for summer BBQs, impromptu coastal road trips and late night drunken pool parties - and it is. But underneath the faultless pop exterior is a fragile, darker side - a perfect companion to wallowing in self-pity and loneliness.

This blend of pop simplicity and dark complexity is the essence of what makes this such a brilliant record. The faultless opening number Lust For Life bubbles along in an upbeat manner, while the lyrics simultaneously discuss regret and disappointment. The brilliant centrepiece - previously released Hellhole Ratrace - is either the perfect slow dance or a suicide soundtrack, depending on your current frame of mind. On the flip-side, moments of punk vibrancy on tracks such as Morning Light - characterised perfectly by the urgent, double-time drumming and feedback driven guitars - are halted only by haunting shoe-gazing vocals.

The origin of these mixed emotions is most likely sourced from frontman Christopher Owen's twisted fairy-tale childhood, which involved escaping a cult, befriending a millionaire and moving to San Francisco to get strung out on pharmaceuticals and start a rock band. However, the hazy nonchalant attitude of the vocal delivery gives the impression that Owen is exhausted, with an overwhelming feeling that three-quarters of the battle was already fought in getting to this point.

The musical side of the equation mostly takes an upbeat pop focus, with the sun-soaked ballads nicely contradicted by Owen's engaging hopelessness. The other important element of not on Album is that several snippets - and occasionally entire songs - sound remarkably like reworked FM-radio classics. Most surprisingly however, is the fact that this doesn't destroy the record's enjoyment, with only the Grease Lightning-esque silliness of Big Bad Mean Motherfucker taunting strongly enough for the skip button to be utilised. Girls' twisted use of familiarity often involves leaving only small traces of the starting point intact, making it feel like a childlike form of homage rather than just plain thievery.

There have been numerous records released this year that focus their attention on what is commonly known as the Best Summer Ever Principle, whereby the central message is to enjoy the moment, forget about the worlds dramas and live like the sun is shining, the babes are friendly and there is no line-up at the cocktail bar. We have become increasingly obsessed with this uplifting perspective as the year has progressed, with the positivity and carefree nature of this 'sub-genre' perfectly counteracting the other trend in modern music of artist's taking themselves far too seriously. The best thing about Album is that while the music is drenched in a familiar summer vibe, it also deals with the consequences. It's remarkably complex, densely layered and rich in variety. It's a record to get introspectively immersed in alone, just as much as it is one to blaze out to with your closest bros.

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Record Reviews
Girls

 

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Comments

gemdilem

Good review, sums up the album very well.

I can't stop listening to Lust for Life. What a great song. I'm definitely going to have this album on high rotation this summer.

9 years ago

mekinon

this album is stand-out stuff. I just can't get enough.

9 years ago

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