Young Girls, Young Girls

Those Tijerina boys just don’t quit, do they? They never seem to stop moving, always making music with one band or another — Charlie was in The Factory Party before this, while Pete was in Program, and Springfield Riots after that.

And, somewhat appropriately, the self-titled debut album from their latest project, don’t-Google-at-work band Young Girls, straddles the fence between all three of the two songwriters’ previous bands. “Lil’ Darlin” and “Scene in Paraguay” come off like Surfer Blood covering The Killers, the woozy, watery guitar roar surging over swaggering, Britpop-influenced vocals and rhythms. In contrast, then, there’re tracks like “This Time,” which swoons and bounces along on a sugary-sweet power-pop high, evoking Teenage Fanclub and Silver Scooter at the same time.

There’s a lot here that’ll sound familiar to fans of the Tijerinas’ (are they brothers, cousins? Not a clue…) other stuff. The Pete-penned songs immediately bring to mind the shiny-sweet sound of long-dead, straight-up pop effort Program, with the unassuming warmth and hazy grin of his Springfield Riots songs. The latter also adds a nicely retro vibe to the sound, as evidenced in particular by the Manchester-meets-Motown soul of “My Baby,” which even comes darn near to Phil Spector territory by the end.

Then there are the Charlie-written songs, which owe a fair bit to the sleek, urban nu-New Wave worship of The Factory Party, evoking the aforementioned Killers, Placebo, or, hell, Duran Duran. The confident strut actually works better here, to my mind, balanced as it is by the rough edges of the music and Pete’s unaffected vocals.

The end result is a shimmery, fuzzy-headed collection of songs that crash over you like a warm, inviting wave, bringing in currents from the Beach Boys, Jesus & Mary Chain, The Pixies, early Killers, Surfer Blood, and pretty much any New Wave-y band you can name. It’s somehow both dark and sunny at once, a summer day at the beach when you look out at the sea and think, holy crap, did you really just see a fin out there? There’s a bit of a snarl lurking beneath the pop sheen — a little vinegar-y tartness to balance out the sweet — especially on “Party Tape” and the bouncy, misleadingly cheery “We’re Not Friends.”

Standout tracks for me have to be the driving, droney “Animals,” which bobs serenely back and forth with a big smile ’til the chorus, when the guitars really kick in and drummer Luis Estrada starts pounding away — the song pretty much explodes at that point — and the earlier “Scene in Paraguay,” which pretty well out-Killers The Killers, all cool nonchalance and fuzzy guitars. A close runner-up is closer “Noches,” which sounds for all the world like a Tears for Fears song amped up to ten.

The best part, honestly, of Young Girls is that it sucks in all of that old stuff I mentioned earlier, all the songs and sounds these guys have been doing for years, and synthesizes them into something that — while I do love the older stuff, don’t get me wrong, especially Springfield Riots — is far, far better than its parts. This is the sound of two ridiculously talented songwriters who’ve each found the perfect foil, in one another, and it’s pretty freaking brilliant.

[Young Girls are playing their CD release 5/7/11 at 2215 Commerce, along with International Waters, Invincible Czarhoons, & GRRRL PARTS.]
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Review by . Review posted Saturday, May 7th, 2011. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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2 Responses to “Young Girls, Young Girls

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. (Late) Weekend, Pt. 2: Young Girls (Revd!) + IFest + Dengue Fever + Bright Men + T.S.O.L. + More on May 7th, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    […] First on my list is the CD release show for local fuzzy/shiny pop dudes Young Girls, which I’ve been listening to on endless repeat all this week and have finally gotten my shit together to review — their eponymous full-length is pretty damn awesome, in my book, so check out the full writeup over here. […]

  2. SPACE CITY ROCK » Summerfest 2011 Rundown, Pt. 3: Chromeo + Something Fierce + Young Girls + Fucked Up + Perseph One + Little Lo + More on December 3rd, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    […] Girls Talked about these guys really recently, actually, when I reviewed their brand-new(-ish) self-titled full-length, and I’m still mightily impressed, a few weeks on. There’s an awesomely appealing […]

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