Despite being a band in its very early stages, San Francisco duo Girls (Chet JR White and Christopher Owens) have already garnered attention from some serious internet indie heavyweights (Gorilla vs. Bear, Pitchfork). They haven’t released a full-length, or even an EP, as of yet, but the few tracks that have come out of this band so far hint at a decent range of exceptional pop sensibilities. Of the five songs they’ve got floating around, I’m particularly amped on “Lust for Life” and “Hellhole Ratrace”.
These two tracks are a bit like two sides of the same coin; while they both operate on the same basic songwriting principals, the end results are quite different. “Lust for Life”, the title track from their most recent 7-inch single, is an upbeat blurb of endearing pop. Somehow lyrically earnest and farcical all at once and driven entirely by a single catchy guitar riff and vocal melody, with just a subtle one-measure variation on both, it’s impressive that they can even pull this song off. But, Girls appear to have a peculiar knack for utilizing simplicity in all facets of their music. On “Hellhole Ratrace”, in which the guitars and vocals rely heavily on just two basic chord progressions (over about 7 minutes), they again harness that same kind of unrestrained straightforwardness and repetition to craft a more pensive, mesmerizing track. Here, Girls start out simple and sparse, but gradually add layers of sound until the song becomes a surging wall of shoegaze-like guitars. This builds against the plainspoken melancholy in the nearly-pleading lyrics rather effectively, conveying a sense of genuine honesty in the emotional reiteration of the chorus.
They’ve got a couple more tracks up on their myspace that are worth checking out as well; “Lauren Marie”, with its twangy guitar strums, haunting synth, and sparse percussion, is almost The Jesus and Mary Chain by-the-numbers, and “Morning Light” finds Girls exploring lo-fi, garage-rock sounds. Considering they’ve only got a few songs out, I’m surprised at how often I find myself coming back to them.
Still waiting on news of a full-length, but you vinyl-indulgers might wanna check out the Lust for Life 7-inch that’s out on True Panther Sounds. Only 500 copies were pressed and they’re selling quick, so pick one up while you can.
Download: Girls – Lust for Life