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Girlpool mixes rock, synth and dream pop in its electrifying new album, 'Forgiveness'

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

When Avery Tucker and Harmony Tividad first joined forces in 2015, their music was sparse and tender.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEFORE THE WORLD WAS BIG")

GIRLPOOL: (Singing) I just miss how it felt standing next to you, wearing matching dresses before the world was big. I just miss how it felt standing next to you...

SHAPIRO: They called themselves Girlpool, and since then, their sound has only gotten bigger and bigger. Our reviewer, Miguel Perez, says the Los Angeles band's new album, "Forgiveness," is a far cry from their debut.

MIGUEL PEREZ, BYLINE: Girlpool has undergone a profound transformation in the last seven years. Their latest work is bolder and totally electrifying.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LIE LOVE LULLABY")

GIRLPOOL: (Singing) When we sing it every night, what's a lie love lullaby when we sing it every night? What's a lie love lullaby when we sing it every night?

PEREZ: The band adds brand-new sounds to their arsenal on songs like "Lie Love Lullaby." There's industrial rock, synth and dream pop, a touch of R&B. They enlisted Yves Rothman, whose collaborators include Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth, to give the album its sleek finish. "Forgiveness" even boasts this sweeping ballad with a gorgeous arrangement of piano and strings.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOVE333")

GIRLPOOL: (Singing) I was looking at something that looked just like love. I was looking at something that looked just like love.

PEREZ: Harmony Tividad says "Love333" started out as one of her bad demos until she and Avery Tucker tackled the song together - because while their sound has grown, they're still very much Girlpool, and their vocals play off of one another beautifully. It's always been one of their biggest strengths.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOVE333")

GIRLPOOL: (Singing) There's a haze over my eyes. I wonder if there's any truth sometimes. I was looking at something that looked just like love. I was looking at something that looked just like love.

PEREZ: Girlpool has been through big changes outside of the studio, too. Tucker came out as trans in 2017, and what followed was a reckoning as he and Tividad worked to reconcile with an early catalog that no longer reflects who they are now. Accepting the past and embracing the present is what "Forgiveness" is all about.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEE ME NOW")

GIRLPOOL: (Singing) Baby, what I meant is I get thoughts that make me sick.

PEREZ: On tracks like "See Me Now," Tucker tries something new. He writes about his relationship to his own self.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SEE ME NOW")

GIRLPOOL: (Singing) Talking mean about my strength, like no, I'm not enough like him, wondering if you've looked at old pictures of my band.

PEREZ: Tividad, too, explores her inner demons on the album, and sharing these painful moments is hard, but sometimes, it's the best way to let them go. The beauty of "Forgiveness" is that Girlpool manages to carve a bold new path forward without dismissing where they've been.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUNKIE")

GIRLPOOL: (Singing) I'm a junkie for you 'cause I'd die to love you.

SHAPIRO: The new album from Girlpool is called "Forgiveness." Our reviewer, Miguel Perez, is a reporter from KERA in Dallas.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JUNKIE")

GIRLPOOL: (Singing) ...She's been. She's the prayer I bury, she's the prayer... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.