LP Review: girlfriends drop their banger debut album, the self titled “Girlfriends”
“California looks good on ya but it made a mess of me,” a line that hooked me in instantly with their leadoff single, “California,” and just continued to bring me on a wild ride with the new project from longtime performers Travis Mills and Nick Gross. This new LA duo, Girlfriends, sprouted up earlier this year, and thank goodness, because the hit machine that their debut album is, is exactly the album we needed eight months into this pandemic. The self-titled record is a wild ride of pop-rock that alternates between feeling like bands of the early 2010s like Hellogoodbye to Metro Station to current mainstays like Grayscale. And I’m here for it. All of it.
Travis Mills and Nick Gross both had their foot strongly in the door of the music industry before they hit their twenties. Mills formerly going as T.Mills, infusing his punk roots with hip hop and Gross, playing in Open Air Stereo, a band who’s career was featured on the iconic show Laguna Beach. So count on them to come together in their brand new duo, Girlfriends, and create the ultimate pop-rock record that we didn’t know we needed. The duo’s past experiences allow the debut album to be a story arch that seems effortless and seems like the perfect outlet to dive into in these unheard-of times.
Be it the anthemic lead off single for the band, “California” to what seems to be the climax of the record with “Jessica” to the beyond fantastic closing track, “We’re All Fucked”. The story throughout the album is a wild ride that ends on the gorgeously poignant notes of the latter track, while also taking you on a wild ride throughout a relationship. One that ends with self-acceptance, knowing that you should be your number one priority but gets to that point with a journey that includes so many other people trying to influence and potentially slow down your progress. But temptations are always a give in with self-discovery, and that was written about beautifully with the grooving “Sugar On The Lips” and “Wicked Games”.
The features on this record couldn’t be better matched, especially when it comes to long time punk king Bert McKraken on the beauty that is “Over My Head”. Honestly, in listening to those lyrics, I couldn’t think of a better fit. Then with “2 AM”, the harmonies are perfection, due in part to the great vocal chops on DeathByRomy. Fans and the public alike couldn’t have asked for a better structured, sonically grooving, lyric-driven first release from a band that is sure to go on to be one of the catchiest acts you hear for the foreseeable future. Around this time is when I predicted some incredible quarantine records/projects coming together and I think that’s easily begun with this new duo. It’s been a long time coming for both Mills and Gross to pursue a pop-punk project and if this new album is any indication of the success that’s due, girlfriends are going to be one to look out for when touring can come to fruition again. The sets are sure to be a quickfire non-stop set that will be easily one of the best shows you’ll have been sure to see.