Two years after taking a break from playing keyboards with Tokyo Police Club, Graham Wright and his band Girlfriend Material are back with a music video for their song “First of the Month,” the first single from their latest album Cool Car being released July 12, by Dine Alone Records.
The “supergroup” comprised of fellow Tokyo Police Club member Josh Hook on guitar, and Jake Boyd from Hollerado on drums (from Ottawa). Wright met their bassist Joseph Garand, a veteran of the Toronto punk scene, after befriending him in a bar with the hopes of renting his apartment.
“Generally, when you think of a super-group you think of something like the Travelling Wilburys where it’s a bunch of lead singers,” Wright says. “But no one in Girlfriend Material was the lead of their bands and I think that brings a really interesting energy since three of the four of us have spent the last decade of our lives playing some version of second fiddle in their respective bands. Everyone is very generous and very pliable.”
Wright describes Girlfriend Material and their new albums sound as “verbose grunge rock,” and wrote the majority of the record between the age of 28 and 30, which manifests itself in some of the more existential topics and the way it attempts to grapple with adulthood.
“I think the subtext for a lot of our music is a wistfulness of a simpler version of experience,” says Wright. “Having a breakup when you’re 30 years old and it’s your tenth breakup, it’s not less painful than when you’re young, but there’s a sweet simplicity to being young and heartbroken. You don’t have the luxury of being naive about it anymore, you have to know that you’re going to get over it or that you’re over-reacting.”
That routine and familiarity of a break-up in your late 20’s and early 30’s is the specific subject of “First of the Month.”
“I was walking around at the end of some month while everybody was moving and I got to thinking about how, on top of all the other stuff, breaking up is just such a logistical nightmare. Especially in a city where nobody can afford rent and finding apartments is impossible,” Wright says. “Even though it’s coloured with all sorts of high drama, the aftermath of a break up is essentially a mundane process of packing up plates and awkwardly arranging, like, the return of keys.”
Even though the album may cover some rather heavier topics, it’s still a very fun album to listen to with catchy riffs and optimistic melodies and at times genuinely funny songwriting.
The albums first track “Peace Sign” is an energetic love song about the need for constant validation from your partner. “Boys in Bands” is a pop-track about repeating the same mistakes over and over again. There’s even a mini-punk interlude in the 37-second “Crap” which is about pretending to be something you’re not.
“There was a while where I thought maybe this was a punk band and I realized very quickly that I don’t write punk songs very well,” says Wright. “’Crap’ is kind of a nod to that. Here are nerds pretending to do punk schtick. “
With the album releasing in the second week of July, Wright hopes this will be a successful summer album but he’s not sure if that’s the specific purpose he had in mind when he and the band were putting the album together.
“When I think about what I’d love more than anything for these songs and this record to do, is be like I remember when I was like 16-17 and I was leaving a party or a friend’s house or a school dance. It was after the thing with all the crazy emotions was over and I was walking home by myself or driving with some friends in sort of the afterglow, the music that we would put on then, in our headphones or the car stereo, was so fundamental and important to what I understand as what it’s like to experience life,” says Wright. “I know it’s a lot to ask but I would love it if even one of those songs became that for someone.”
Their album Cool Car releases on July 12, and you can watch their video for “First of the Month” below and listen to the single on most streaming services.