"divergent influences come bounding across the rock pantheon and meet somewhere on "forget the ladder, climb the wall"... for its overall effect, the album feels very much like a guided by voices effort - uniform in its energy - but wildly different roads are taken to collect it.
on "lake merritt" vocalist paula knight trills on like a grown-up liz phair, "whip smart" era. when rupert taylor - the boy in girlboy girl - sings through the neat jangly guitar of "reminds me of summer" it is with the fey assuredness of belle & sebastian's front man stuart david. the flattery of influences aside, the fourteen songs on girlboy girl's latest album stand on a strong base of their own instrumental merit.
perhaps even more triumphant than the overall songwriting on "forget the ladder, climb the wall" is the spot on production by the band and cohort john austin. there is nary a sloppy moment on the near fifty minute disc and many of the already shimmering moments are set to shine brighter with an accentuating studio hand.
for fans of pop of the highest quality and intrigue, girlboy girl could not come more highly recommended."
- erick, cosmik debris
"a sophomore album that picks up right where their debut album fresco left off, with fourteen more songs of trebly guitars that operate in two settings (fuzzy and jangly) and shy co-ed vocals that sing of melancholy things in the most plainspoken method imaginable... on paper, it sounds depressing, but when these sentiments are couched in the sweet harmonies of rupert and paula, and decorated with the nimble leads of new guitarist sean taplin, they’re turned into bouncy affirmations."
- sean padilla, mundanesounds.com
"this is the second full-length from bristol's girlboy girl, and their first release in a few years. the sound isn't too different from their last album, "fresco"; the music sounds like a mix between the delgados and later pastels, with equal parts of jangly, shambling pop and subdued, quiet songs. not surprisingly, i prefer the more upbeat tunes (especially "impermanent" and "trying"), but many of the slower ones were enjoyable, too.. rupert & paula share the vocal duties, sometimes alternating between lead/backing vocals and sometimes singing in unison. overall, this record seems a lot more focused than their debut was, possibly because they've had more time to work on and refine this one. it's good to see these guys back in action again..."
- chris, indiepages.com
"girlboy girl have long been a mainstay on every indie pop compilation, but they've never seemed vital. they had the melody, the nice group name and the prerequisite for all great pop bands, a phd in natural science. however, they liked lo-fi production and fuzzy guitars, and believed that all mistakes happened for a reason... "forget the ladder climb the wall" continues girlboy girl's ascent toward well-groomed joyfulness. songs like the boy-sung "starting to peel" could be straight from the kinks' village green sessions, while groovy, low-key numbers like "don't shout" prove that vocalist pamela could win a date with sebadoh any day. she has the innocence, the mellowness and the bust-my-britches-ness of a girl you'd quilt the world to please.
... their richly melodic music runs into ditches like a child, then paves them, and makes them safe driving for the adult heart. their new songs of love and wistfulness are not shortchanged by skill, poor production values or professionalism, but played as if it's the most important thing in their lives to get our attention, warm our ears and make us compare them to god. girlboy girl make music like a deity makes commandments: they're so simple on the surface that you can't believe they take a few years (or a few millennia) to make, but there's so much underneath them that you'll spend all day slurping up their optimism and dancing into an endless reverie."
- theodore, splendid e-zine
"girlboy girl is just that a band of girls and boys from bristol uk that bring back the sounds of a uk pre-britpop. the sounds remind me of skinned teen, cornershop, boyracer, and the wedding present. man those were the days, please uk go back to the way it was."
-kissing the cat
"alright, all you hipsters out there, you wanna impress your friends, right? of course you do. well, in the '80s, NME released c-86 mix-tape compilations that featured some of latest in british underground - a must-have for indie-pop and brit-pop aficionados alike. a wealth of forgotten pop gems! seeing as these are nearly impossible to come by, you will have to track down the bands that were featured - heavenly, felt, the go-betweens, and many more. these are the bands girlboy girl have captured the spirit of (the pastels, in particular), and they are basically doing an updated version of the c-86 movement. i guess it should come as no surprise that bristol, england's girlboy girl feature girl/boy vocals. what should surprise, however, is their penchant for making melancholic, jangly pop tunes... this one's worth looking into."
"girlboy girl play ethereal indie pop in the best tradition of old yo la
tengo. it's the type of music that would be appropriate in the background of
a hal hartley movie, or in your own mental soundtrack as you place your most
dramatic moments into a personal hipster cinescape. we all do it, and we¹re
all helped out by bands like this. they stagger the songs on this, their
second full-length record, so that up-tempo songs are followed by slow
droners. it's a nice device that keeps the record moving really well and
makes it feel coherent. just as the restrained vocals hint at lost love and
landscapes fading in the rear-view mirror, some fine guitar work drills
straight into your heart with unique, driving riffs. the band is four-piece
from bristol, england, that has been around since 1996. (two members used to
have an acoustic project called hewas.) "
-punk planet #61
"if you do get stressed and need to relax once in a while, take a listen to bristol, england's own girlboy girl. "forget the ladder, climb the wall" would be a good soundtrack to go along with lying on your bed, staring at the cracks in the ceiling, and trying desperately to let the day go. it's got a soothing, kind of loose, lo-fi sound. the girl/boy co-vocals-- a soft, whispery, pretty female voice, and a slightly unpolished, endearing male one-- and their poetic lyrics remind me favorably of this american band called rainer maria, but with the added bonus of neato lil' british accents. the two bands are kindred spirits. if you like rainer maria, you should really enjoy girlboy girl.
"forget the ladder, climb the wall" is a pleasant, heartfelt little gem. music to fall asleep to and let seep into your head."
-dj kirkbride, tlchicken.com
"girlboy girl certainly can write a song that has both a winning hook and a lyrical gravitas that’s neither too self-pitying nor too arty. that says quite a bit about their skill."
"what a nice surprise to see girlboy girl is still around. after having possessed a 7" and a single-sided 12" for years now, both sounding quite like beatnik filmstars, it appears the band has released two albums in the past years without telling me about it. and now i like "forget the leader, climb the wall" so much, i pretend not to know it was released more than one and a half year ago. on this album, girlboy girl sound much less like their former neighbors (from bristol) and have changed this for some shy, quiet kiltpop. based on the nice vocals of rupert taylor and paula knight the band sounds like the shy neighbors of what belle & sebastian used to be, like the pastels of a while ago or like a much less bombastic delgados. or like a band that comes in your messy room and sets itself between piles of cds and magazines to play the songs for you and only you. please let me know when these guys release a new album. i don't want to miss out next time. "
-martijn, think small
"after a host of seven-inches and EPs, as well as a full-lengther on blackbean and placenta, girlboy girl have entrusted their second album to LA label kittridge records, who have a knack for unearthing obscure yet enticing indie pop acts. the band sticks to a reasonably familiar twee pop style, rounding out their sound with a bit of cheery spunk that sets them apart from some of the genre's softer inhabitants."