by Ben Adsett
Right from the off it is clear that Floating Now, the second full lenght LP from Californian three-piece, Hard Girls, is the kind of record that’ll get you through the winter. There is just enough sunshine to take the edge of the greyest of days and the tempo is perfect for a speed walk in the rain.
Opener, ‘Field 99’, shows further development from their earlier gruff pop punk recordings to what now sounds like technical indie punk. Although they still clearly know their way around a hook, the band are not scared to expand on new ideas.
The simplest example of this is ‘Echolocation’, which has an almost Belle and Sebastian/Owen quality to its meandering hooks and warming guitars. This is also a fine display of the band’s dual vocals; a combination of gruff strength and quiet, fragile emotion. This mix oxymoronic vocal deliveries creates wonderful movement between songs.
The lyrical themes beautifully follow fantasy, honesty, and social narratives, with some very poignant moments. The story about getting old on track six, ‘Halfway to the Hearse’, will resonate with most listeners. Embracing three narratives which don’t necessarily pair well together while managing to create a track which is completely relatable is a triumph of song writing.
However, Floating Now isn’t without its typical sing-a-long bangers. The double header of ‘Codine Dreams’, a vintage tinged slice of indie punk that nods towards Weezer and Pup, and ‘Camera’ which has a riff that could have fallen out of a (label mates) Muncie Girls song, is an absolute joy.
Despite very clean production this is an album that is brimming with DIY attitude, the guitar lines alone have so many intricacies which add so much depth to these three minute punk songs. The knife edge balance with occasionally choppy basslines and warming feedback hums continues to make this a truly special release.
Floating Now is another great step forward from a band which, along with its fans, are growing with maturity.
Floating Now is out now via Specialist Subject and Asian Man Records.