Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Sep 16, 2011 Web Exclusive
"They don't like my bony body/they don't like my dirty hair," Girls vocalist Christopher Owens sulks on "Honey Bunny," and it's already clear the band's not doing much to change their image as mainstays of the American Apparel ad school of music.
Two years after their buzzy debut Album—buzzy in several ways; they admit to writing the album while under the influence of just about everything—Owens and Chet White, known as Girls, drop their second LP, Father, Son, Holy Ghost. While their debut was a snapping tear through breakups and despondency, sun-drenched in a Beach Boys veneer, Owens and White are now moping less and rocking more.
Alongside new drummer Darren Weiss and guitarist John Anderson, the San Francisco duo mostly resurrects their standard San Francisco surf rock. Tracks such as "Alex" and "My Ma" riff on the band's traditional self-aware balladry. Other songs seem ripped straight from the oeuvre of Wolfmother ("Die") and Pink Floyd ("Vomit"); the latter recalls the hazy Sonic Youth vibe of Album's "Hellhole Ratrace." If this mishmash of styles sounds unoriginal, it's because it is. One gets the sense that, even though they're striving to evolve, Girls isn't really trying to break out of their cage of self-awareness.
Owens grew up in a family involved with the Children of God cult, and his harrowing childhood has filtered into his songwriting, grazing everything with melancholy. "Seems like nobody's happy now," he drawls on "Just a Song," and at times, you find yourself wincing along with him. But on the whole, the album feels like a parody of music's tropes, limping along with no real soul. (www.myspace.com/girls)
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Average reader rating: 9/10