Melbourne’s Woollen Kits devote their latest LP to girls. Not girls in general, but girls through the scope of ‘60s garage. Four Girls is less punk than what’s come before, and more dreaming-of-the-one-you-love. As their second album of the year following a popular self-titled debut, Four Girls has its work cut out for it.
All four devotions to female-kind show off different aspects of Woollen Kits’ make. ‘Cheryl’ is a rough-edged dual vocal ditty with extended vowels for the chorus. ‘Sandra’ sits low and tears it up, the closest the bands gets to a wig out. ‘Susannah’ moves towards pop, while ‘Shelley’ demonstrates what has come to be regarded as classic Woollen Kits.
But of the titular four girls, it’s ‘Shelley’ and ‘Susannah’ who really steal the show, with saxophone playing a major part in the optimistic refrain of the latter. They’ve used the instrument before, but only for flair, whereas here it’s a simple chorus hook but it makes the song. ‘Shelley’ is a fun, careless blonde, as successful a song the band could hope for in this ‘60s adoring guise.
Four Girls is the most workmanlike Woollen Kits missive to date. It sounds more like down-the-line garage pop/rock than their self-titled record, which itself didn’t try to beat around the shed. ‘Please’ is a mostly forgettable plea to a father to take his daughter out on a date, while ‘All Sorts’ feels like filler. With the six minute ‘On The Move’, the band files out with a typical finale – slower, slighter, longer – a build up and a come down. They’ve shown they can do droll well before – go no further than ‘University Narcolepsy’ from Woollen Kits – but this doesn’t quite hit the mark. It’s a good ending, but a predictable one.
Truth is, Four Girls doesn’t make me feel the way Woollen Kits have done before. I don’t have the desire to share these songs the way I did with ‘Maths’, or the highlights of the first LP. I don’t have the same envy for the three boys who wrote the songs. ‘Cheryl’ mostly sums up this LP: “When you feel good, you get shit done.” Four Girls gets by. It’s attractive, sure, but I can never shake the feeling that it’s just doing what it has to do. Enjoyable but unremarkable.
Label: R.I.P Society
Release date: December 2012