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Strictly Albums Of The Year: Father, Son And Holy Ghost

Released 7th September 2011 on True Panther Sounds

Chart Performance: Girls sophomore LP landed at no.119 on the UK chart.

What The Critics Said: Father, Son, Holy Ghost is full of such odd, unexpected pleasure, which all the more impressive considering how familiar the elements are.” Paste Magazine

There are few stories more romantic in modern music than that of Christopher Owens. Constantly on the move as a child, he toured the world as a part of a quasi-hippy Christian cult of sorts. He was denied access to the culture of the western world; the music, the movies, the art, but one day, he saw a glimpse of music on the TV, and decided to run away to California with the help of his sister and start a indie band while stacking shelves. It was perfect, and so was Girls’ delightfully straightforward debut, Album. It captured the hearts of indie elite and hipster taste makers simultaneously with its undeniable immediacy and classic rock’n’roll illusions.

Since that remarkable arrival, the signs have been clear, Christopher Owens had no intention of standing still. 2010’s lovingly received Broken Dreams Club EP showcased a band developing richer emotional palette, as the band experimented broader signwriting constructs and erring in favour of expansion. Still, the world may have been warned, but no one was expecting what came next. Father, Son And Holy Ghost saw Girls transform into California’s answer to Pink Floyd. The album was almost a literal progression towards a simultaneous depressive immersion and an embrace of the boundless freedom of invention. The tight cute pop of “Alex” and the brilliant “Honey Bunny”, gave way to the stomping “Knights Of Cyndonia” meets “Highway Star” guitars of “Die”.

And with that one gesture Girls were unleashed. Not simply to solo until they were blue in the face, but to fly off in any direction their artistic id would take them. To soar high against the night sky, to crash and burn on the beach front, or to wallow in a deepening pool of depression, Girls would do it all. “Vomit” was the integral masterpiece, the sprawling ballad that went from ominous desperation to resilient uplift via a blistering solo and voice choir. “Forgiveness” formed the emotional nadir and “Love Like A River” was the first real Girls’ standard, a ballsy balladeers swan-song that led perfectly into “Jamie Marie”.

Father, Son And Holy Ghost was loaded with illusions to rock’n’rolls past (Beatles, Floyd, Beach Boys) but far from wallowing in retrospection the album was defined by a bleak emotional core and it’s desire to dive headlong into the abyss and emerge with whatever sounds were necessary to express the sheer bigness of Owens’ torment. This was true borderless expression. David Hayter

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Author: david

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