When Girls’ debut, Album, hit the shelves in 2009, it was met with the utmost praise for an indie album in recent memory, and for numerous reasons. It was front man Christopher Owens’ emotion-fused lyrics, haphazard charm, and his relatable manner that helped launch the indie rockers’ debut release, Album, into a contender spot for album of the year on many indie ‘best of’ lists, because of this, the San Franciscan duo was inevitably showered with over-night success. Even 2010’s, Broken Dreams Club EP was a gem. The follow-up expands on nearly every aspect of the forerunner and affixes unaccustomed novelty to these indie-hotshots’ sound.
Yet again, Girls outdo themselves on their latest release, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, in every way sonically possible– a very high bar to set for their next record. Owens sings, “They don’t like my bony body/ They don’t like my dirty hair… or the things that I say, or the stuff that I’m on” on Holy Ghost opener, “Honey Bunny.” The front man brilliantly sets up the theme of the album: speckled with carefree spiritual sense of assertiveness, embellished with lovelorn tracks and held up by charming apprehensiveness – the ideal record for the recluse who can easily identify with Girls’ enthralling past of cults, drugs and wealthy contributors. At the core of Holy Ghost is a revamped Owens’ who is preoccupied with hopes of finding someone who will love him for all that he is, a definite change from the basking self-pity which coats Album.
Even on other parts of the record, Owens’ differing character is apparent throughout. “Die” portrays Owens and Chet “JR” White brazenly strumming on Deep Purple’s “Highway Star”, while massively rocking out in a poppy Brian Wilson way that is beyond what we would have ever predicted from Girls. And is it just me that thinks “Die” sounds a bit too much like Wolfmother’s “Woman”? You be the judge.
“Vomit”, my personal favourite and Holy Ghost’s leading single, is undoubtedly the album’s most haunting and somber song. It scales from a bare, disturbed start – “Nights I spend alone / I spend ‘em runnin’ ‘round lookin’ for you, baby” – to an uplifting and subtly moving, stadium rock finale. Owens can be heard singing “Come into my love” pleasantly over the sounds of a gospel choir – the evidence pointing to a turbulent past is gone.
Father, Son, Holy Ghost blows its predecessors right out of the water. The album, excels in every dimension possible, diversifying the breadth of their previous accomplishments – without putting themselves in a precarious position.