Rising Los Angeles-based trio Gal Pal — Emelia Austin (she/her), Shayna Hahn (she/her) and Nico Romero (he/him) — can trace their origins back to a serendipitous meeting in college: The members of the band lived in the same dorm and on the same floor. Each member was drawn to to other by a sense of shared ambition and a desire to play music in a share that felt nonjudgmental and generative. Their initial collaborations were improvisatory, long-winded and playful — and featured recently purchased equipment, including a drum kit no one yet knew how to play. “We were learning our instruments together,” Gal Pal’s Nico Romero says. “The project started from wanting to learn how to play an write songs with other people.”
The Los Angeles-based trio’s latest single “Mirror” altering their creative process — perhaps out of necessity: Austin, Hahn and Romero experimented with writing in isolation, crafting songs with lyrics on their own before bringing them to the group. Featuring production assistance from Danny Noguieras and Sami Perez, the new single is also a bold step forward sonically for the band: Centered around an intricate, looping guitar riff, skittering drum patterns paired with Austin’s plaintive wailing “Mirror” is a shoegazey take on post punk that evokes both the sensation of being hopelessly stuck in a repetitive, dysfunctional pattern — and the slow-burning sense of dread, because there’s the acknowledgement of being stuck, and not knowing how to get out of a hellish loop.
The bands Emelia Austin explains that the song “formed from Nico playing cynical 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.”
Directed by Will Rydall, the accompanying video follows the band performing in their sun-bathed practice space, in front of various mirrors — and bounding up and around the surrounding hills.