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I have reached that point in my life where I haven't so much given up but accepted that I won't be certain things. I've accepted that I won't play up front for Chelsea or that I won't be a nobel prize winner. At 19 and 18, L.A.'s Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker - aka Girlpool - are dragging me (kicking and screaming) to the realisation that I probably won't be a rockstar because if they've got their shit together this much at their age then what hope do I have?

This wasn't supposed to be a piece about me having a quarter-life crisis but my lack of maturity is indicative of the fact that at a very young age, Girlpool's Before The World Was Big is a record of startling maturity even if it is apparently raw in every sense of the word. It's stripped back both sonically and lyrically with the only sound on the album that isn't Tividad's bass, Tucker's guitar or the duo's joint lead vocals is a tinkling of a glockenspiel at the beginning of the album's title track and then again in the background of 'Cherry Picking'. The latter, incidentally, is the album's longest, clocking in at a whopping 3 minutes 37. Phew. What is this? An LCD Soundsystem album? The LP's 10 tracks are subdued developments of ideas ranging from nostalgia of a youth-that-never-was to crushing anxieties of expectation hoisted upon them by failed generations before them. Simple instrumentation isn't really a hindrance because while there's enough for the album not to become a chore to listen to, the emphasis of this record is in its lyrics.

It is fitting that in a year that has seen a new Sleater-Kinney album, one of the most hyped new bands are one who attempt to capture the raw emotions of the Riot Grrrl movement from the first time around. It's not as noisy but there are definite echoes of Heavens To Betsy's sole LP, 1994's Calculated. And it's not as if they attempt to hide their references to the music that so obviously influenced them. 'Dear Nora' even has a line where the two coo "Dear Nora there's a lot that's changed this year, I'm still thinking about swimming in Seattle." In many ways Before The World Was Big is just as emotional as the Corin Tucker (no relation) fronted Heavens to Betsy, but those emotions are largely shown not as the shouts and screams of Riot Grrrl (even though there are hints of that in the record and more so on the pair's self-titled debut EP from last year) but rather as the sighs of ennui. If the counter-culture music of Generation X was explosively angry, the music of the Millennials sounds as equally regretful and lost in time. This 'Peter Pan Syndrome' effect even displays itself in the album's artwork which shows two children playing with Lego. How cute. One of the things the album does so well however is not being cute. It is at times angry but it is more often sweet without nearly bordering on saccharin.

While it was a throwaway reference earlier, the contrast between Girlpool and LCD Soundsystem exhibits why Before The World Was Big is such a refreshing listen. James Murphy's undoubted lyrical genius manifested itself as snarky attacks on popular culture, hipster bashing and turning almost everything into a sarcastic comment. It's the logical conclusion to the know-it-all MTV Generation raised on Daria and ironically watching Tom Green. What Girlpool presents is a new perspective which is inherently a very old one. Post-Irony is a contentious term, as people much smarter than I continue to argue the grammatical logic of it and debate the death of postmodernis, but regardless of their lofty debates Girlpool show that music can be written in the 21st Century with a humble intention to be earnest. Before The World Was Big doesn't need fancy production or grand instrumentation. It is a record that opens with the line "I thought I found myself today, no-one's noticed things are okay." There's a sadness to Before The World Was Big that's hard to put your finger on but the fact that Girlpool wear their hearts on their sleeves is something which brings genuine warmth.

Tividad and Tucker haven't got to the points in their lives where they are cynical about everything. That comes when you start writing negative reviews because you can't make music nearly as well.

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