Austin’s alt-pop-rock girling has unveiled their most recent effort, “Side 1”, which is set to release Friday, May 19. The official girling “Side 1” release show will take place the same date at The Sidewinder in Austin with support from the rock group A. Sinclair & alt-rock artist Ben Millburn. Acting as a continuation of the band’s signature nerdy, garage-rock sound, the follow-up to girling’s 2016 self-titled album is riddled with warm familiarities: the lullaby-like keys, the howling vocals, and distorted guitars. Tragic lyrics reside behind these sweet-sounding melodies, giving special insight into guitarist/vocalist Andy Sharp’s life. The five-track EP is filled with poetic stories of regret and sincerity that are all disguised by the aromatic musicality.
“It’s a dark sensibility wrapped in a pop kind of candy wrapper,” says drummer Rusty Zagst of girling’s sound. The opening track, “Shattered,” is syncopated, smooth, and full of soul. It’s a track of distress, describing how easily love can shatter you and leave you in a million pieces. “Fiction” is the perfect embodiment of girling’s dark, sugar-coated rock sensibilities. A joyous beginning quickly turns awry with Sharp’s caterwauling “I had a brother who drowned in the lake / He swallowed water until he sank / His girlfriend told me to stay in the boat / Said it’s just another one of his jokes.” A bright mix of keys and guitars shroud the melancholic lyrics, leaving them waiting to be discovered. Eventually, emotions swell together and push back against the buoyant track, but instead of a displacing interruption there remains a beautiful mix of dark, light, and Patrick Swayze dancing in the moonlight. In a complete turn, a sense of pure grit and toughness resides in “You’re Not Right” thanks to the distorted guitars, heavy drums, and the accusing lyrics that proclaim “you’re not right.” Sharp describes the song as being “weird, raw, and full of swagger.” Melodies are a primary focus of this album, whether it be in the keys, guitar or vocals. These cheery and well-crafted melodies help throw the calamities behind a guise. The tracks all come together to create an encyclopedic album that archives emotions that often get lost in most modern music.
girling is more than just music for this group of guys. It’s a family affair when it comes to the five of them. Zagst speaks about the family chemistry of the group, saying that the allure isn’t “lost on us that when the five of us come together in a room that we’ve got something pretty special.” It’s about creating magic and telling the stories that you can’t get out all on your own. It’s music for a more thoughtful audience, those that look beyond the surface and try to find a deeper connection. When asked about the themes and stories that follow the EP, Sharp says that “A lot of the stories and a lot of the darkness comes from saying things in a song that you can’t actually say to people in real life.” Music is an outlet for more than just the musicians. It’s a living art that has a varying effect depending on who is listening. girling’s tragically hip customs have transcended past the ‘who’ and ventured into the ‘why’. It’s a bitter taste of the real world, but it comes with the sweet aftertaste of knowing there’s an entire community out there that feels the same way.
Written by: Sawyer Click