The Preatures‘ second album Girlhood, follow up to their 2014 debut Blue Planet Eyes, explores matters that affect us as girls in a fun, pop-driven way. Opening track “Girlhood” blasts in without an intro, and makes me want to jump around my bedroom while singing into a hairbrush. If they were intending to make female listeners nostalgic for their younger years, they did it.
Second track “The First Night” takes it down a notch, with heavier drums, more layers and harmonies between the vocal and the guitar lines. The lyrics “She’s got acknowledge she’s a sensitive kind, and only tenderness can meet her eye. Baby, like the first night,” allude to losing virginity, whether this was their intention or not. The song ends with an extended outro which could have been the intro for the next track, it sounds so different to the rest of the song.
“Yanada” is a lighthearted track with less layering than the one before. Manfredi‘s voice sounds more confident in a higher register, and shines over the top of the guitar and bass. There’s very little room for drums on this track with the guitars, synth and vocals taking most of the attention. The isolated vocals towards the end of the track make me imagine how they would play this live – I can see Manfredi singing the lines while encouraging a crowd to clap – until the rest of the instruments come back in to finish the track.
A couple of ballads come next, with fewer instruments and layers than the preceding two tracks, which gives the album more depth and shows off Manfredi’s vocals.
“Lip Balm” is about… well, lip balm – it may be a euphemism – but the lyrics “I love you babe, I love you, but I’ve tasted a particular flavour that makes me want to pull away from you,” suggest it’s about exactly what the title says. It’s a very fun, upbeat song with a youthful, pop quality and makes me remember back when I used to collect Lip Smackers in high school.
“Mess it Up” is a different sound to the lighthearted pop songs and ballads we’ve heard so far. It has a definite 80s influence with a jumpy, funky bassline. The vocals are very high pitched over the guitars, as Manfredi repeats “I don’t wanna mess it up.”
Girlhood doesn’t follow one specific genre or mood, it moves from sounding light to dark, fast to slow, happy to depressed. Which is exactly what it’s like going through girlhood. The Preatures have become a staple in the Australian music scene over the last few years, and it’s easy to see why. Their ability to capture moods and feelings in their songs obviously resonates with many people.
Girlhood is a fun, yet deep album that demonstrates why the hype about The Preatures is justified.
Review Score: 8.5 out of 10.
Girlhood is out now.