Girls - Album
Imagine growing up in an extremist cult such as The Children of God. You can only listen to music OK-ed by the cult leader and if you get caught listening to unauthorised tunes, hellfire ensues. It all sounds pretty grim. Well, that’s exactly the upbringing of Girls’ Christopher Owens. He fled the cult at aged 16 and fell into the punk scene in Amarillo, Texas before ventually moving to San Francisco where he formed Curls with his girlfriend. After a bitter break up, he finally he met a kindred spirit in Chet “Jr” White and together they have put together Album, a swirling mix of 60s psychedelia, punk idealism, joy, hate and acerbic wit all rolled into one wonderfully fragile album.
‘Lust For Life’ starts us off with a bitter rumination on the life of Owens' now ex-girlfriend that lays down the minimal lo-fi template so perfectly rendered throughout the album. ‘Ghost Mouth’, a mournful ditty, is reminiscent of Elvis Costello at his miserablist best and ‘Big Bad Mean Mother Fucker’ is a 1960s style surf tune with Jesus & Mary Chain undercurrents and a potty mouth that is quite brilliant in its execution, the highlight of a gloriously entertaining album that would be the perfect summer record for people who prefer the winter months. This leads us in to the centrepiece of the album, ‘Hellhole Ratrace’, a beautiful, feedback-laced song about the pain and desire of finding love. ‘Curls’, a lovely little piece of instrumental whimsy pulls us gently us in to album closer ‘Darling’, a country rock expression of Owens’ joy at finding his way in life.
Anyone looking for anodyne, note-perfect tunes should look elsewhere but for those who can look past the rough edges and eclectic mixture of styles will find an uplifting album worthy of a place in any discerning collection.