Girling, an Austin-based alternative pop-rock band stylized as “girling,” released a new EP back in May 2017. Based on that “Side One” EP, fans of the genre will want to put this group on their list of bands to watch.
Review by Jackie Ruth
“Side One” offers up five new tracks from girling, opening with “Shattered.” The opening song features dueling guitar riffs and a catchy use of “ha ha” as an over-the-top onomatopoeia for laughter. With its Christmas-esque bells and chime sounds, this track also utilizes a common theme throughout girling’s music: cheerful music that nearly hides the dreary subject matter. This same thing can be heard on the tracks “Fiction” and “Hey Ornery.” The latter of these has a fuzzy distorted guitar and a calm vocal harmony, which is unexpected based on the song’s title, which itself is reminiscent of the Gin Blossoms’ “Hey Jealousy” (in name only). An official music video for the track “Fiction” can be found on the band’s website; it’s a beautiful, nostalgic look at the dark lyrics of the song.
The band cites Bright Eyes, Violent Femmes, Ben Folds Five, and XTC among their influences and contemporaries, and it’s easy to see why when listening to the EP. Their indie sound could reasonably be compared to fellow Austin-based group Spoon, or even early Weezer.
Girling’s vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and producer Andy Sharp has worked engineering the sounds of the Toadies, Sheryl Crow, Blue October and – not surprisingly – the aforementioned Spoon, who has also worked with girling’s long time collaborator and producer John Croslin.
The EP’s second track, “You’re not right,” is notably the only one with a grammatically incorrect title matching the band’s name. As its title might imply, the vocals on “You’re not right” convey anger, working with the discordant music. This track is a standout on “Side One” due to its unpleasant nature.
The final track also stands out for this reason – “It’s Not Over” is not quite a ballad, but it is more in the style of a singer-songwriter track than the others. It’s an acoustic song that seems to focus on the denial that can be a part of the end of a romantic relationship. It’s a great way to end the EP, since the denial of it being over can be applied to both the song’s subject and the actual album.
“Side One” is a fun listen for fans of late ‘90s alt-rock, especially those who are familiar with Austin’s music scene and want to support talented local artists. The EP is available on the band’s website, where you can also preview it via an embedded Spotify playlist.
Originally hailing from Pennsylvania, Jackie has called Austin home since choosing to attend the University of Texas, where she graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism. She loves spending time with her dog, writing about pop culture in all its forms and spending time with friends – eating, drinking and doing trivia. You can follow Jackie on Twitter and Instagram.