Feb 20, 2023
By Caleb Campbell
Photography by Marlon Mara-Lenoble
LA-based indie outfit Gal Pal debuted in 2017 with their full-length record GIRLISH, and followed in 2019 with their EP, Unrest/Unfeeling. Those first two records came together as the product of a chance meeting, building upon a foundation of playful improvisation and effortless chemistry. In those days, bandmates Emelia Austin, Shayna Hahn, and Nico Romero wrote together in their college dorms, constantly switching instruments and trading riffs and rhythms. It was a collective model of creation that resulted in tracks that were equally freeform and adventurous, moving easily between sonic aesthetics, time signatures, and genre lines.
Now, the band have since graduated college and relocated back to LA. Each member has been experimenting with writing in isolation for the first time, navigating and documenting the changes brought on over the course of the pandemic years. Today, we’re getting the first taste of that new material with a new single, “Mirror,” premiering with Under the Radar.
“Mirror” is a lustrous and dreamy effort, centered on skittering drum lines and shimmering guitar textures. Producer Sami Perez (Cherry Glazer, Jerry Paper) captures the band in flux, caught in a whirlpool of stuttering patterns and cyclical riffs, one that steadily grows more tense and insistent with each loop. The guitars turn spiked and distorted, the drums turn muscular and pounding, all building to a chaotic apex before the track gives way to a floating synth-tinged reverie. Later, the skittering drum pattern returns once more, now shaded with discordant stabs of synths as the track draws to a close.
Austin says of the track, “‘Mirror’ formed from Nico playing cyclical guitar riffs over and over again. It helped me form the theme of being stuck in a pattern. I then wrote lyrics that were cut-off sentences, repeating again and again to express that feeling. For me, ‘Mirror’ is about the ways we allow our identities to be misshaped by people in our lives, how we are used as reflections for others, and the anxiety over being able to control it or not.”
Check out the song and video below, out everywhere now.