Swimming in the Girlpool

Two years ago, we started Reverberations with the goal to provide a platform for people to respond to art from a personal perspective. When starting the publication, Linne, our co-founder, and I drew inspiration from other artists and critics whose work impacted us in order to develop our vision for the website. One such inspiration was another student publication that existed at Wesleyan University at the time called Greyscale, but has since stopped publishing. Founded by Alex Lee, Greyscale used to host listening parties where a group of people gathered to listen and respond to an album however they wanted to. No posturing. No bullshit. Just listening to music together and responding to it authentically. This is the type of creative process we wanted to foster with Reverberations, though for more art forms and in different formats. But Greyscale’s idea to have communal parties stuck with me.

So our editor JR and I decided to host our first listening party. -Sage Marshall

Middletown was in the thick of a blizzard, and midterms laid heavy on everyone’s mind. Still, a snowy few piled into the Womanist house lounge in search of a de-stress, a chance to make art, or simply to see what the “surprise album” might be. We took to construction paper and markers, guided by the simple prompt “respond to what you hear.” Soon, Girlpool’s What Chaos is Imaginary (2019) filled the room and everyone settled in. Some colored, some wrote, and some just took a minute to bask in the vibrations.

Girlpool’s freshly pressed senior album is expansive and listless, with the occasional concise, poetic line bubbling to the surface. It also marks the debut of lead singer Cleo Tucker’s new voice—he came out as trans and began hormone therapy just months before recording. The result is a new sound for Girlpool, but one that maintains the group’s incisive, dreamy ethos. -JR Atkinson

Learn more about Girlpool and What Chaos is Imaginary here.