No ruffles and lace
Girls Club release second album, ‘Polyglamorous’
Lindsay Wessinger of Girls Club
Tulsa’s Girls Club occupies this town’s genre of “No Genre at All.” Contemporary bands like Gogo Plumbay and Guardant have flown the Tulsa flag of the hard-to-pin-down. That banner has long been on display here, from freak punks like The Illegitimate Sons of Jackie O all the way back to a sound so diverse it became internationally known as “The Tulsa Sound.” Girls Club’s iconoclastic ‘90s indie-disco-fuzz-n-shred is refined on their second album, Polyglamorous, which drops this month.
Following the Tulsa tradition of double-bass-guitar bands like Northside Hot Dogs and Snorlaxx and complementing current groups like Duclau and Police Academy 2, Girls Club eschew six thin strings for a thicker and eightfold, low-end attack. Perhaps more spiritually than sonically, they jive with the late-‘90s/early-aughts culture of dancy post-hardcore. Think Milemarker, Dismemberment Plan, or Death from Above. But add some Weezer and a musical theater background.
The group originally formed as a cover band around 2013, hanging out and playing songs by Bette Midler, Billy Joel, and others, but never left the practice space. When bassist Airon and singer Lindsay Wessinger married that same year, the band effectively died. They regrouped to write originals and released their debut album, Lavender Scare, in 2016.
Their sound may be difficult to define, but Airon simply describes them as “two girls, two basses, a drummer, and a Moog.”
The “two girls” part of that descript and the year following President Pussy Grabber’s election have informed the tone of GC’s new album.
“I think since the election we’ve gotten … I don’t wanna say ‘angsty,’ ‘cause that makes me think pop punk … but we are darker and angrier,” said Lindsay.
That darkness and angriness produced such songs as “Not Me.”
In the song, which is a driving Motorhead-meets-Grandaddy downpicker, Lindsay yells a list of things she certainly is not. They include “your girl,” “your slut,” “your bitch,” and “your wet dream.” Lindsay says the track was inspired in part by the 2017 Women’s March.
Tracks like “Working Class Queer” are written from bassist/singer Jess DiPesa’s perspective as a trans woman.
“On this album, there are references to things within queer culture that might not be recognizable to people outside of it,” DiPesa said. “But anyone who’s done any reading, or just seen ‘Cruising,’ knows what I’m talking about.”
“Working Class Queer” starts with a harmonized dual-bass Sabbath lead, before settling into a hefty blues swagger, above which DiPesa narrates her trip to an Okie honky-tonk.
“Hell yes I’m in your bar; I’m looking for a rough trade,” she sings. “So, you can fuck me or fight me, the choice is yours. But I’m not going down lightly, hang onto your drawers.”
Other standouts include “Sweat and Regret” and the opener, “Ruff Girlz.”
“Regret” is a morose disco track, reminiscent of Ladytron and Moneybrother, about the seduction of the naive at the hands of the ill-intentioned. Swelling horns and a four-on-the-floor beat soundtrack an aspiring starlet’s trip to a dancehall that descends into a “killing floor” as the perceived adoration of the crowd is exposed as a desire to dehumanize.
“Ruff” is a synth-led rocker with shades of The Anniversary, all about the bad chicks scaring the good boys. “No ruffles and lace, all my leather and chains make you afraid cuz I’m too ruff,” Lindsay sings.
“We don’t have songs about love,” Lindsay said. “But we have songs about sex.”
The almost 8-minute “Animal” is a sweaty disco doom epic attesting to that notion.
The band derives their unique sound from a rare rock ‘n’ roll political structure: a democracy comprised of four songwriters in place of one dictator.
“There is no El Capitan guiding the ship,” Airon said. Each member brings either a song or a “seed” of one to practice, and from there they build. Even though drummer Brian Voris usually “plays the shit out of the drums and then leaves,” according to Lindsay, any time he speaks up in songwriting, the band listens and applies his suggestions.
The group will celebrate the release of Polyglamorous with a happy hour show at The Soundpony.
Polyglamorous album release show
Soundpony, 409 N. Main St. | November 19, 6 p.m.