But the harmony singing is the real news with Girlyman. The members were all classically trained, and that shows up in arrangements that go places harmonically that their predecessors would not have tried. The sound is dense and lush, and you can listen to Girlyman just for that lushness their MySpace page sports a quote proclaiming them "a luxurious sonic bubble bath," and another band they list as an influence is Squeeze. Especially subtle passages ("I drown myself tonight in cheap sangria") become addictive earworms. Yet the effect is different from that of a virtuoso group of harmony singers like Take 6: the harmonies never seem flashy but are tied into a melancholy that, I think, is pervasive with the upcoming generation, and that in the music of Girlyman underlies all the beauty and fun.
Girlyman brings its third album, Joyful Sign, to the pleasantly intimate Green Wood Coffee House on Friday, April 11.
[Review published April 2008]