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Girls "Father, Son, Holy Ghost" Reviewed

If you listen to the galloping-sunny-beachy ‘Honey Bunny’ and its light touch of surfing guitar which is opening Girls’ new album ‘Father, Son, Holy Ghost’, you may expect this same happy pop-tunes for the rest of the album,… but , the guy who began his career claiming all he needed was love and a pizza, knows it is much more complicated, just like love.

‘I need a woman who loves/me, me me me me me’ sings Christopher Owens with his sensitive (he called rock nyc editor Iman a dog for a negative review he wrote hear last year) puppy-love, heartbreaking and heartbroken voice, and if the looking-for-love-lost-love theme is effectively all over the album, the tone and the music cannot be more varied from song to song, going to this fast bullet opener, riding a sort of speedy Paul Simon’s ‘Kodachrome’ rhythm, to big arena-rock-numbers, to intimate acoustic songs, all sounding more or less familiar, but all over the place in the blues-rock-pop music pallet of your mind.

‘Die’, all fuzzy in its beginning, explodes like a stadium number, right in the middle of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, heavy and hard with no pity, claiming a determined ‘No, nothing's gonna be alright/and we're all gonna die/all gonna die’, whereas the next song ‘Saying I love you’ has this Roy Orbison-esque bridge when Owens sings ‘There goes my baby/heart on a string/There goes my lover/my everything’.

‘My Ma’ is a sweet thing with its wobbling organ in a gospel-revival way, and its Harrison guitars that peak later, but ‘Vomit’ that just follows, is both the central song of the album, and its darkest spot, all emphasized by its Pink-Floyd-influence grandiosity, with psychedelic female choruses over big keyboards and a desperate Owens ‘Lookin' for love’, but finally singing ‘Come in to my heart’.

And the album continues to flow like this, switching with ease from wide-screen soundscapes to more confidential-close-to-ear settings, but keeping the same I-may-sound-happy-but-I am-in-fact-miserable affair on most songs, even though some tunes like ‘Magic’ bring a walking on sunshine theme via a short Fleetwood-Mac-like guitar opening and lyrics like ‘Just a look was all it took/Suddenly I'm on the hook/it's magic’

The album ends on a touching and sad song ‘Jamie Marie’ which, like the other ones, says a lot with simple and direct lyrics, ‘Maybe I didn't realize/the way I loved the way you moved/'till I moved so far away’.

‘It just feels like it's gone/like all of it's gone/gone away’ Christopher Owens sings in the simple tune ‘Just a song’. Like elsewhere, lyrics are more about feelings, memories of past emotions, whereas the current emotions are extensively carried by Girls’ ability to juxtapose so many types of music, at the same time sounding familiar and unexpected. In fact, the San Francisco duo brings us through a hell of an emotional roller coaster, reaching a new indie level.

Grade: A-
 

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