“I feel like the band is a vehicle for hanging out.” That’s Robin Edwards describing being part of the Seattle-based supergroup Who Is She? Alongside Bree Mckenna and Julia Shapiro (and Emily Nokes too this time round), Edwards makes up a small group of musical friends who enjoy hanging out as much as they enjoy making music together. “[We] are always down to jam,” Mckenna says; “we’re a friendship band,” Shapiro adds. On their previous album, 2017’s Seattle Gossip, they sang about topics like rom-coms, MySpace ‘top 8s’, and the chemistry of David Arquette and Courtney Cox. The stakes are low, but the joy is high.
Their follow-up record is less scrappy in fidelity and there’s an unhurried air about getting anything in particular done. Goddess Energy covers topics like sea-monkeys, online dating, the horrors of the rental market, and Anne Hatheway. Borne of song-a-day challenges and late-night jams, the 11 short tracks on Goddess Energy have a lighthearted energy, even when they are leaning into their punk side and lambasting the inequalities of the world. “My My Orca Card” (a take on the classic Le Tigre song “My My Metrocard”) takes aim at Jeff Bezos while on the 95-second “Anne Hatheway” they point out the needless unfair treatment of the titular star; “Maybe it’s because she’s beautiful / Maybe she reminds people / Of someone they hated in high school / But whatever it is / Anne doesn’t deserve it”.
Occasionally there’s a little more to dig into. The chirpy guitar rhythms on “Thursday” lay the stage for an ode to lost love and remembering that one magical moment you share with another person. Final track “All Mixed Up” is a sweet tale of falling for a mystery person after coming upon their mixtape in a thrift store. “I’ll never know your name / But I can hear you sing along / Speaking through worn out tape,” goes the gentle pining. The opening title track could be read to be a celebration of feminine energy (the title comes from a kindhearted diss a friend gave them; “too much goddess energy,” he said when invited to lunch with all the band). “Dazzling, way too much, turn it down,” the band sings, like they are taking the role of their detractors. “Shut up!,” they promptly (and repeatedly) add.
Elsewhere the songs don’t go beyond the surface level of what the title might imply. That’s perfectly fine though; these are tracks created out of simply wanting to create together. A jokey song about impressing Shania Twain (as per her iconic hit from the 90s); “MoviePass” is an ode to a time when you could see unlimited movies for cheap; and “96 Ghouls” has the band playing off Herbie Hancock’s classic “Bring Down the Birds” bass riff to detail the sheer amount of disappointments to be found on dating apps, all while adding a fiery indie punk gusto. These are tracks that do exactly what you expect them to do once you know the setup – albeit with an often playful and jovial approach.
Goddess Energy barely breaks the 20 minute mark as an album, so it’s no trouble to get through over and over. It’s catchy and as fun for listeners as much as it is for the band (studio chatter and laughter heard across the album helps raise a smile). Some tracks kind of run out the joke after a few listens though: “Bitch For God”’s blithesome salute to former Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson and “Please Don’t Kick Us Out”’s list of former housemates are amusing, but only a few times round.
Considering most tracks are only two minutes long, there’s not much to grumble about in passing though. Who Is She? are just four friends hanging out. Their music doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, beyond capturing some fun moments they all had and made together – and in that regard it succeeds. How much you like and take from Goddess Energy will likely come down to how much you like hanging out with the band.