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Girls in Hawaii

By: Julia Simon

Girls in Hawaii are garcons from Belgium, mais non? These neo-psych noodlers wed angular, country-tinged rock with off-kilter melodies; not exactly the preferred soundtrack for chicks spring-breaking on Maui. Here they occupy a dream-state similar to that of California’s dios malos and Granddaddy, one where spacey-yet-rustic tracks — such as “Time to Forgive the Winter” and “Short Song” — are staples.

Like their beachgoing namesakes, Girls in Hawaii relish in a sunny stratosphere, and are only now bringing their solar-powered electro-tremors across the pond. It’s taken two years for From Here to There to make a stateside debut, but its arrival seems well-timed in an era where foppish and fashionable post-punk is de rigueur. Frontmen Antoine Wielemans and Lionel Vancauwnberghe maintain a DIY veneer for the filigreed electronic textures that earned them accolades in Brussels’ dEUS-dominated music scene.

It’s only when the Girls try to sound like other musical outfits from the mother continent that they misstep, succumbing to the weight of their influences. “The Fog” sounds lifted from Hail to the Thief (sans Nigel Goodrich’s touch) and “The Ship on the Sea” sinks under a shoegaze-goo that could asphyxiate even Mogwai. Largely, though, From Here to There is positively wistful and goes down smoothest with a Sierra Nevada, not a Pierlala. Pass the sunscreen.

Girls in Hawaii will play during this year’s South by Southwest festival.

Girls in Hawaii on MySpace