Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost review

“Father, Son, Holy Ghost” sounds like a tortured version of wholesome Christian family band pop. It has influences of the Beach Boys, the Everly Brothers, and good 50s rock and roll and pop music in songs about drugs and bad relationships. Owens’s lyrics aren’t cool or self-conscious. He’s candid and open with his emotions to the point of almost sounding self-absorbed, but it never burdens the wholesome pop vibe. If you’ve ever listened a Beach Boys album or to some Christian folk rock, the combination of painfully sincere lyrics and light, poppy tunes balance each other out. “Father, Son, Holy Ghost” isn’t quite uplifting, but it’s a fun album with some pretty vulnerable spots.

Chris Owens is very open without taking himself too seriously, making a few good pop songs out of junk addiction, a childhood in a religious cult, and relationship baggage. While “Honey Bunny” might seem a little self-obsessed, it’s refreshing to hear a rock star slag his own luck with women: “They don’t like my bony body/ they don’t like my dirty hair/ or the stuff that I say/ or the stuff that I’m on.” It’s a ubiquitous statement, and a relatable one for anyone listening who happens to feel to addicted, skinny, fat, or unattractive in some way. Pretty much anyone could pop the album in and escape from their problems a little bit. That’s what listening to “Father, Son, Holy Ghost” feels like. It makes the gutter a happy place.

Some tracks on the album are a little more raw. There’s places where all the light pop is gone and what’s left is a bleeding, sincere mess. The honesty goes so deep that such seriousness is beyond criticism: “nights I spend alone/ I spend ‘em running round, looking for you baby.” When someone admits to that much desperation, and has the music to back it up, there are no rules about what can and can’t go into a song.

Owens lays everything bare on “Father, Son, Holy Ghost,” and that’s why it’s so powerful. There’s nothing self-consciously cool about it.

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