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Girlyman: Everything's Easy

Reviewed By: Lisa Torem
Label: Girlyman Inc
Format: CD

Here is a band that reaffirms your belief in what is truly genuine. Girlyman members, Doris Muramatsu and Tylan Greenstein have been best friends since second grade and met up with Nate Borofsky in college.

Collectively inspired by acoustic 60s vocal groups, Simon and Garfunkel and the Mamas and the Papas, the trio produce stellar harmonies using bare, but haunting and rootsy instrumentation. Playing nation-wide festivals and popular urban venues, the Brooklyn-based Girlyman has acquired a loyal fanbase which can be verified by consistently sold-out shows.

In their fourth studio-released album, ‘Everything’s Easy,’ a range of subject matter and style is revealed. For instance, Watergate is explored in ‘Easy Bake Ovens’. Tin-pan alley verve underscores ‘My Eyes Get Misty,’ which belies the melancholia of the message; "My eyes get misty when you don’t kiss me/Whenever you are near/I shut my eyes and hope I’ll disappear." But, that type of juxtaposition is exactly what makes the album memorable.

‘House Song’ has a deep, meditative quality, literacy references which induce yearning and exciting instrumentation; doumbek, mandolin and bouzoki are responsible for much of that depth, and Antje Duveko and Lucy Wainwright Roche add another rich dimension with exuberant backing vocals.

Lyrical imagery that lingers, also contributes to the experience. "The deep descending patterns of the wrinkling of the time/Like that little plastic flowerpot still sitting on the stairs/Holding a dead bougainvillea from last year’s burst of repairs" is one example of the sophisticated storytelling seasonings that seamlessly connect voice to word.

The mid-song lyrics of ‘Angel’ are more straight-ahead, but equally moving; "Cause somewhere in my bones I start to break/Somewhere in my dreams I’m still awake", but the trading off of vocals in such democratic fashion (there doesn’t seem to be one lead singer), and the diversity of timbre keep the album vibrant.

Some musical surprises; ‘Up To The Sea’ borrows a melody from Ludwig von Beethoven, the interplay between Kristin Jarvir’s cello, Nate’s trembling keys and the delicate bleed of Doris’ soprano in ‘Nothing Called Home’ and, finally, the gentle idealism of ‘Somewhat Different Now.’

‘Everything’s Easy’ harkens back to a simpler time, however, ‘Girlyman’ still manages to uplift and challenge its audience.

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