girli – Matriarchy

A successful second record...

Alt-pop starlet girli is back full-throttle with her first album release since her 2019 release ‘Odd One Out’.

‘Matriarchy’ acts as an extension of the exploration of sexuality expressed on the songstress’s debut. Opening track ‘Be With Me’ introducing ‘Matriarchy’ with the line “I think I just met future my wife…” misleading the listener into anticipation a light and airy pop song dedicated to a lover, which would be correct, however in this case girli seeks to address herself in a self-love serenade. 

‘Nothing Hurts Like A Girl’ leads on the feel good energy with an equally uplifting pulse boasting Muna-esque synths amongst electrified percussion which effortlessly becomes the beating heart of the track, bringing it to life. ‘Nothing Hurts Like A Girl’ is a perfect example of a corner of alternative-pop music which has recently been bursting with life commonly referred to as ‘lesbian pop’. Femme queer-pop houses a range of the most magical, female, pop phenomenons in current music such as Chappell Roan, Renèe Rapp and Fletcher, hosting sapphic specific songwriting against  a high-production, synth-pop backdrop. ‘Nothing Hurts Like A Girl’ certainly follows suit on this as girli reels off the catchy lyrics “no one knows me better, no one gets me wetter” accompanied 80s-esque melodic riffs and a series of snare drums emphasising girli’s layered echoing vocals, standing her in good company with peer pop ingenues who happen to be killing it right now. 

As the album title suggests, girli lyrically delves into other areas of womanhood on ‘Matriarchy’. ‘Overthinking’ opens with the line “I think I’m a adult now but I forgot to eat breakfast, haven’t done my taxes” in a relatable, whilst self-deprecating, contemplation of responsibility. An apprehension which is communally distinct to anyone entering adulthood and a sentiment girli’s following of predominantly young women will certainly connect to. 

‘Her Too’ stands out as a highlight amongst the album narrating an emotional conflict of being stuck in a love-triangle. The high-energy, synth-heavy delight is made more irresistible surrounding its subject of something we as a society simply can’t get enough of at the moment. In recency of the release of the current must-see film Challengers and Taylor Swift’s ‘folklore’, which explores a fictional love triangle between teenagers, love triangle tropes are all-the-rage. ‘Her Too’ with its addictive harmonies and textbook-pop snare drums is certainly a sentiment to being equally as addictive as the trope explored, lyrically. 

Tracks bridging the gap between recent single ‘Crush Me Up’ and lead single ‘Matriarchy’ certainly seem to lose the fierce potency initially established on the album but nonetheless stray from subdued, staying inoffensive and making for easy-listening. ‘Poser’ and ‘Kind Of Stuck’ stick to the sombre, self-deprecating confusions of adulthood, and as a result start to become wearisome, unravelling the album’s pace a little. 

Title track, ‘Matriarchy’, picks up the pace of the album reeling off affirmations of sapphic celebration and celebrations of the female gaze. “When we touch we touch to fuck the patriarchy”, in all its glorious wordiness which submits to be very sonically satisfying, defines exactly what makes ‘Matriarchy’ a perfectly picked lead-single and as an album-highlight, acts to sustain its quality. 

‘Matriarchy’ marks itself to be a successful attempt at a sophomore album, the slight inconsistency masking deliciously, addictive alt-pop triumphs which undeniably succeed at defining a poptimimist’s dream. 

6/10

Words: Lauren Hague

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