One of the more pleasant surprises of 2015 was the understated emo pop Philly duo Girlpool delivered with their LP Before the World Was Big. Over 10 tracks, Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad found emotional resonance in staying clean, riding the bus, aging into your body and writing to far-off friends. And while they have no new work on the horizon, bassist Harmony Tividad has stayed busy in 2016 with the steady release of a new EP.
Now, to close out 2016, Tividad has released the lightly clattering “Russian Roulette.” The minimally produced effort deals with some fairly dark subject matter: purchasing a gun to pacify anger problems, self-mutilation and “clinical oppression,” but ultimately surmises that love can vanquish such daunting foes. Aiding this uphill battle is a gently rumbling bass, half-human-half-machine percussion and a garbled choir chiming in “I love you so much.” That last detail is perhaps the most important. Yes the minutiae matters a great deal, but the macroscopic view of love is bigger than any one detail.