The Girlas, Now or Never, Kototama Productions
With debut album Now or Never, The Girlas deliver simple, acoustic-guitar-driven folk, a sound honed at the cozy ‘awa bar Hale Noa (until it closed in March). The group—comprising Candy Diaz, Carly Smith, Kelli Heath, Anela Choy, and Tiffa and Connie Cruz—are more a collective than a band, each of the six members sharing songwriting, singing and playing duties.
The Girlas’ sweet vocal harmonies invite comparisons to local pop masters Na Leo, although the vocalists occasionally meander off key. It’s worth wading through a few flat notes, though, to get to pop gems such as “Crazy,” a bubbly Jack Johnson-esque ditty, and “Make You Mine,” which you’ll be humming all day long. Girlas member Connie Cruz, who wrote both these songs, doesn’t actually perform on the album, but she’s responsible for some of Now or Never’s best moments; her original compositions are consistently engaging and hooky.
A few other sections of the album seem longer on feeling than musical ideas, but overall, it’s a pleasure to listen to.
Cherry-pick the best tracks from Now or Never and you’ll have the start of a great new playlist for your iPod: Sunny Hawai‘i Pop.