Monday, 5 September 2011

Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost

The second record from San Francisco band Girls sees them take a more expansive sound with everything from heavy distorted guitar solos to soft acoustic moments to gospel accentuating the melancholy of Christopher Owens' voice. The songs make sure they cannot be pinned down, many metamorphosing into something entirely new in their duration. 

No song is simple on this album. The raucous opener ‘Honey Bunny’ speeds up then slows down into a lighters in the air moment before speeding up into an abrupt ending, while ‘My Ma’ is tinged with gospel but features a distorted guitar solo. ‘Forgiveness’ feels like an intrusion until it becomes a funk song with a huge Prince –esque epic guitar solo. ‘Vomit’ twists and turns starting as a simple acoustic riff before growing into a distorted guitar solo which segues into ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ which could be straight off a Beach Boys album before finally blowing up into an epic gospel finish while Smith sings softly “come into my heart” seemingly oblivious to his backing.

But it’s sometimes when Girls stick to one genre per song that their ability really shines through. ‘Die’ is a hardcore head banging piece of heavy rock and ‘Just A Song’ uses a lack of production to highlight a Billy Bragg guitar part and simple strings to allow Owens' vocals to act as a haunting distraction. The catchy, jaunty ‘Magic’ will have you clicking your fingers or tapping toes without even realising, while ‘Love Life’ is straight off a Best Of 50s Rock n Roll record and ‘Jamie Marie’ is a broken hearted goodbye.

It is clear that Girls are not a band to be pigeonholed and their versatility is firmly proved on this record. The ability for every song to be contrasting and different while at the same time to fit together is a rare quality. Majestic song writing spanning every genre, I dare anyone to not enjoy this rather wonderful record.

By Jessy Parker

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