In a recent conversation, a friend noted they didn’t quite understand the hype behind Girls. After all, there are a dozen bands that write similar, edgy songs and can carry a complimentary weight. I agreed, but only somewhat. Revisiting songs like Album‘s opener “Lust For Life”, I hear a unique vocal styling and that damn garage-pop I seem so fond of these days (along with everyone else). But one thing is certain: Girls sure can write a powerful ballad.
“Hellhole Ratrace” is just such a ballad, and despite the tradition to give the ‘single’ title to the upbeat track, it fits here… almost too perfectly. The song is packed with heartfelt nostalgia (as I so uncouthly noted in my memories-filled video recap for the song) and airy guitars. The tambourine adds the loved pop while the vocal chromatic descent at the end of chorus And I don’t wanna cry, while awkward, stands out in the most excellent of ways. And when the powerful drone of distorted guitars join at the midpoint… just… damn. Realization.
With only two tracks, the hit single “Hellhole Ratrace” and the b-side, “Solitude”, a tune that, at least initially, sounds like it could be an eerie take on the equally eerie song James plays with Donna and Maddy in Twin Peaks. But aside from a similar clean guitar mix (and riff), the song has that same style of power Girls inject into “Hellhole Ratrace”. Sure, it doesn’t reach that song’s epic heights – and you wouldn’t expect it to, after all it is the b-side – but you can’t discount the fact that “Solitude” is pretty solid.
Yeah, “Lust For Life” is great and “Big Bag” has an ethereal early-Beach-Boys surf sound to it, but if you ask me, it’s the slower songs like “Solitude” and “Hellhole Ratrace” that really make Girls stand out as a great band.
True Panther Sounds [10″ Single, 2009]
1. Hellhole Ratrace