By Mark Jenkins
Friday, April 5, 2013
“New Pop,” the jaunty ditty that opens Golden Grrrls’s self-titled debut album, doesn’t quite rise to the level of a manifesto. Sure, this Glasgow threesome’s music sounds young, fresh and catchy. But there’s nothing especially novel about the folk-goes-punk style, derived from mid-’80s groups known for their upbeat, elementary and somewhat amateurish approaches.
The album contains snappy, direct songs -- 11 in 27 minutes -- that emphasize trebly guitars, pretty melodies and pleasantly ragged girl-boy-girl vocals. The trio’s influences range from 1980s New Zealand, the source of such similar outfits as the Clean, to ’90s D.C., then home to “riot grrrl” and Slumberland, the Grrrls’ U.S. label. Yet singer-drummer Eilidh Rodgers and singer-guitarists Ruari MacLean and Rachel Aggs could have drawn their music entirely from such Scottish precursors as the Pastels and the Shop Assistants.
“Golden Grrrls” is unlikely to convert listeners who aren’t already devoted to this style. Still, the band has a keen sense of its abilities and makes smart use of its most distinctive attribute: those contrapuntal vocals. The Grrrls sing with, around and against each other with such verve and freedom that such tunes as “Date It” and “Paul Simon” very nearly sound like something new.