Reviews Girl Scout Self Titled EP

Girl Scout

Self Titled EP

Musically tight and lyrically inventive, Pittsburgh, PA-based, self-proclaimed “slacker rock” group Girl Scout seems to draw inspiration from various indie rock groups of the ‘90s and early 2000s - it doesn’t at all seem a coincidence that the band included a cover of Pavement’s “Cut Your Hair” as the b-side to their first single. Built around Jeremy Zerbe’s vulnerable voice that reminds me a bit of Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, the band’s 2014 self-titled debut EP begins with the initially gentle track “Cops are Here.” The relaxed guitar, quiet lead vocals and cooing falsetto backup soon give way to a more immediate, much louder punk-derived closing section with a rowdy chorus of snotty vocals. This track more or less shows everything that the band is capable of, since the remainder of the EP switches between the song formulas and sounds heard in this first track. 

“Good Hustle, Hotpants” recalls The Dandy Warhols circa the Thirteen Tales... album, having humorous lyrics providing a sort of satirical look at the process of becoming a rock star and dealing with new-found fame. Luke Rifugiato joins Zerbe on guitar for this song, and the overall tone of the track is a bit more gnarly and biting before it finally heads into a noisy solo section. Still, nothing on the opening pair of tracks quite reaches the level of outright punk rock nastiness heard on “Nosebleed.” This brief burst of demented energy is a welcome change from the pleasant laziness of the opening numbers, providing a jolt to the listener before “Where We Slide Down,” the very ‘90s-sounding, obvious choice as the album’s first single, again slows down to a sauntering pace and ditches the previous track’s bad attitude. “Summer Green” is, at five and three-quarter minutes, the longest track here but doesn’t feel that way. Zerbe gets the listener involved in the song by loading the ongoing story told in the lyrics with quirky detail, and the entire piece is very earnest, heartfelt and surprisingly affecting. The EP finishes with “Glow,” a track that, aside from boasting another soaring guitar solo and neat singalong vocals, sounds quite similar to some of The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s supremely catchy and fuzzy tunes.

Throughout the album, I was impressed by the imagery that vocalist Zerbe is able to conjure up: it’s really his ability as a compelling storyteller that gives Girl Scout some distinction from the multitude of vaguely similar albums. Many indie rock vocalists struggle to achieve that perfect blend of clarity and quirkiness in their lyrics, but Zerbe seems to do so effortlessly, providing just the right amount of eccentricity to keep a listener intrigued by what he’s saying. Nice mixing and production on the album ensures that a listener can follow everything he’s saying while also appreciating the assured instrumental performances. Even if Girl Scout isn’t reinventing the wheel in their replication of ‘90s indie rock, they do a fine job of capturing the best aspects of that sound: this well-tuned and fun little album is worth giving a listen to.

7.0 / 10Andy
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