We recently talked about Verdgrls, and their track, ‘Daylight Savings’ which is lifted from the new EP – Small Moves. That first release was a spacey, sensitive exploration of nervousness and motivation. It offered up a tonal quality of what to expect from this new five-track collection.
Tonally things remain perfectly in the palette that we’d expect. An easy, adult pop is delivered through a range of strings, synthesized sounds, and classically banked strings. Punctuative drum machines sound sunny, and avoid that chilly distance that they often represent in this genre. Melodies, for the main, follow major progressions, and the vocal work of sisters Catherine and Anna Wolk carries the sense of deep cleansing.
Lyrically, Small Moves delivers in spades. Songs look up at their environment. The awareness of the cultural and political scene are felt throughout each track. However, the most successful moments come when Verdigrls pass through experiences and then sit in reflection of who they are now they’ve endured all this stuff and noise.
“How does it feel, to feel real?” is asked in ‘Women in Fiction’ The narrator sits on the the edge of an unmade bed, she’s checking each constituent part of her psyche. She says that she has nothing in her head. It’s the perfect counter to a later instruction of keeping our secrets locked inside. It’s the ability of Verdigrls to oscillate between the real and the imagined, the projected and the protected that makes such compelling songs come alive.
They do brim with life, the songs here. ‘The State Master’, which is heavily stained with sadness, boredom, and the inability to find the strength could so easily land as a lamentable bunch of whining. But Verdigrls expand the sense of what they ask of themselves. It’s the pursuit of that inner grain of self-determination which is targeted and articulated. “My heart is so tired” is a line that anyone alive, and paying attention, has to feel. But it’s in the acknowledgment of possibility, and also the sense of community that pulls us through.
It’s a cliche that life is sad and beautiful. Verdgrls do well to navigate away from the tiresome and tried methods of conveying that truth. Instead they opt toward beauty, solidarity, and the kind of craft that, perhaps ironically, performs the best kind of alchemy. Where once there was sadness there is now relief and light. Where there was once nothing, there’s a whole bunch of art. Thankfully.
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