Album Review: galen tipton – recovery girl

By Kiah Easton, Columns Editor
[DESKPOP; 2020]
Rating: 8/10

Key tracks: “big loud & violent”, “recovery girl ”, “dont be my light”

galen tipton is starting out 2020 with a bang, releasing her debut project under the alias recovery girl through the experimental pop record label DESKPOP Music.

Undoubtedly big, loud and violent, as the title of her intro track states, the explosion that is recovery girl certainly isn’t accidental. Serving not just as a sonically complex, flashy pop record, the project conceptually delves into deep emotional experiences, including her experience as a transgender person. Displayed by the alternative alias and title recovery girl, the project is centered on themes of health and recovery. 

Read more: Album Review: fake meat – galen tipton

Like entering a sparkle-filled menu screen for a glossy video game, the record begins with UI sounds and a question: “do you wish to continue?” Assuming everyone says yes to the rhetorical question, recovery girl begins.

“big loud & violent” is an energy-filled, percussion-oriented track that sets the pace for the rest of the project. It is obvious from the beginning that recovery girl is reinventing elements of galen’s past work to create a more traditional pop sound that stands out in galen’s discography.

The title track “recovery girl” is an amalgamation of styles that galen has experimented with in the past. However, the composite is entirely unique.

Texturally harsh noise and digital stabs drop into delicate string plucks that weave in and out of clubby drum patterns. All of that is draped in a layer of tipton’s newfound expression. Her vocals are breathy and autotuned, varying in pitch and texture, adding new levels of melody, personality and lyricism that were not possible on previous projects.

A dancy guitar arpeggio builds into the outro of “recovery girl”, devolving into harsh noise and abstract textures reminiscent of some of the experimentation found on fake meat. galen shapes the raw noise by transitioning into “lets go bitch”, which is 46 seconds of hard-hitting percussion and bass.

Using her voice as new material to shape and mutate into her musical vision, “dont be my light” disassembles her vocals, creating a dancy and almost hypnotizing sonic landscape onto which another layer of high pitched vocals dance. A mesh of elements builds into a half-time deconstructed club beat that hosts more of galen’s voice, this time transformed into a visceral screamo verse.

This EP release marks a crucial and transformative point in galen’s career. With nothing but digital sounds and creativity, she is able to express a vast range of emotions and styles, but with the addition of vocals, her ability to create and express exponentially increases.

The future of experimental pop music is in a beautiful place, and galen clearly and eloquently adds her unique perspective on recovery girl.

Listen here:

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