Hope. Without it, the world falls apart around you. With it, anything is possible. Even beating leukemia. And where better to find it than between harmonies woven by friendship and perseverance.
Girlyman weaves those harmonies into their folk-pop synthesis with aplomb. A quartet, the band is made up of Doris Muramatsu, Nate Borofsky, Tylan Greenstein, and now former Po' Girl drummer JJ Jones. They compose emotion-infused songs about the trials and tribulations of life without letting it slip into the dark. The original trio (Muramatsu, Borofsky, and Greenstein) have been together a decade, adding drummer Jones in 2009, but they sound like they've been together a lifetime. And I'm sure the time between being diagnosed with leukemia and remission seemed like more than a lifetime for Muramatsu, but it led to the writing of the thirteen songs on Supernova. These songs have themes of uncertainty, growth, and hope echoing the different phases of the journey for Doris and the rest of the band as they too used the experience to grow, change, and move on with life.
Supernova holds together as it orbits the sadness and pain of healing, change, and an indomitable spirit. The title track, even in its hopeful melodies, lyrically hits me like Dylan Thomas' "Do not go gentle into that good night," struggling against the "dying of the light," as Borofsky's words say so eloquently, "So if you and I are all that's left/In a universe sad and bereft/Should I smile and say it's for the best/Or should I shout?" Shout!! Don't give up!
That said, I've never heard any pop song work in so many astronomical terms and concepts–from the Kuiper Belt to "a suborbital parade" of cosmic gases and dust. All while the quartet sing these beautiful lyrics with a bare guitar and cello backing them.