Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost

This is a terrific, sweet, uplifting album. I've ignored it for a while, mainly because I thought that the debut offering Album was a promising mess, but still more of a mess than promising. But Father, Son, Holy Ghost is better in every way -- more focused, tighter songwriting, better production, and less beholden to influences.

On first blush, this album seems like just another retro throwback -- Beach Boys sunny pop, early '70s Laurel Canyon singer/songwriter navel gazing, the early '00s indie pop goodness of Beulah and The Shins, with occasional nods to '90s slacker guitar heroes Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. But the minute you start to play "spot the influence," lead singer/songwriter Christopher Owens has already moved on. And it misses the point. Owens is the kind of guy who has absorbed the DNA of 50 years of rock music. You can separate the strands if you like, but the reality is that he does what great songwriters always do -- rearrange those strands into something unique and compelling.

It's the sweetness that ultimately wins me over, and makes me smile. This is a guy who writes not one, but two songs about his mother. It sounds as if he likes her. And "Forgiveness" gets it exactly right. I have no idea what this guy believes or does not believe. But it's refreshing to encounter someone who holds out the notion that bitterness, cynicism, and recrimination are not the answers. What a lovely second album.

2 comments:

Grant Wentzel said...

Another record I've been meaning to get to! "Album" was a favorite two summers back - I loved the mess of it and feared this would be too slick - but you've reassured me it's for the best.

icyhighs said...

What Grant said. Checking this out straight away, thanks for the heads up.
Wanted to say I used an image from a previous post of your on my blog, and credited you for it. Hope its alright.
Also, I'm just reading up here but sounds like you've got something amazing going. Good for you mate.