Review ·

Album was allegedly created when San Francisco’s Girls were on drugs, but it sounds like the only substances altering these dudes’ consciousnesses were sunshine and rock ‘n’ roll. It’s also a bit hard to put much weight in the drug angle, since these dudes are from San Francisco, a place with weather so nice people in heaven are jealous. It’s not like Girls cut an album on meth in North Dakota because there wasn’t shit else to do.

 

Girls were formed by Christopher Owens, who happens to be a guy with a hell of a backstory. He was once a member of the Children of God cult (the one that allegedly encouraged sexual relationships between the adults and children in the cult) before running away at 16 to live on the streets. After a few years bustling around, he started Girls with producer Chet White.

 

Pegging Girls as a drug-fueled, California band with a singer with a bloggable life story is probably missing the point, though. Girls are, at their most basic, a solid band of rock ‘n’ roll reappropriators. They pull from Buddy Holly-esque country rock (“Darling”), British new-wave (at least in spirit, “Headache”), AM pop (“Laura”), bristling lo-fi noise punk (“Big Bad Mean Motherfucker” and “Morning Light”), effervescent pop-rock (“Lust for Life”) and girl-group ballads (“Ghostmouth,” perhaps the only song to directly speak on Owens’ cult background, but probably not). The only things that carry the album throughout the changes are the overwhelming optimistic, yet heartbroken vibe and Girls’ omnivorous attitude toward rock history.  

 

Yet throughout most of the album, Girls do little to differentiate themselves from a bevy of similar bands whose only weakness is a lyricist that is less entertaining than Owens (which, I suppose, gets down to the difference between bar bands and famous bands). It’s on “Hellhole Ratrace” that Girls make their pitch for semi-stardom; it is by leagues their best track, and one that hardly feels at place smack dab in the middle of Album. The track starts slow, but is brought to a simmer by ever-escalating guitar, and Owens’ increasingly fragile worries about not wanting to die to soon, before everything explodes in walls of blissed-out feedback. It’s a pristine highlight, towering over everything around it.

 

If nothing else, Album could be a precursor to about five different albums. On album two will Girls do all punk, all lo-fi, all sunny AM affectations or all seven-minute long feedback meditations? Listening to Album, you’ll never know.

 

***

Label: http://www.matadorrecords.com

Audio: http://www.myspace.com/girlssanfran

  • Lust for Life
  • Laura
  • Ghostmouth
  • Goddamn
  • Big Bad Mean Motherfucker
  • Hellhole Ratrace
  • Headache
  • Summertime
  • Lauren Marie
  • Morning Light
  • Curls
  • Darling

Album is the debut full-length from Christopher Owens and Chet "JR" White, the Californian duo that makes up Girls. Featuring the tracks "Hellhole Ratrace" and "Morning Light," both of which made the rounds on the blogosphere leading up to the album's release, Album has been described as "the perfect San Francisco summer record."

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This cd pleases me...

h0gy

Great album, deserving of a more attentive review. Sunny summers in San Francisco? Really?

Brian H.

This is a solid disc, and I think it's covered just fine here. The backstory may add feeling here, but not always depth. And "attentive" and "agreeing with you" aren't the same thing. Not always, anyway.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/mfiander/profile.jpg mfiander

Thanks Fiander. I think because of the P4K review this went from being a pretty good album to being "great" all of a sudden. I liked it, but I can't imagine listening to it much in the future.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

I agree with you guys, especially the P4K comment. This record is fine but won't be remembered forever. It will be interesting when 'Album 2' drops and the emperor is caught without his clothes.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Frosty/Kyle.jpg Kyle Lemmon

I'm not saying the band is going to be prolific, I just find Album resplendent....

h0gy

This album was great before the Pitchfork review, and just as good after it. Remember...Pitchfork isn't the only reviewer in town with clout, and certainly not the only one that has heaped loads of praise on this album.

It is an amazing debut, and one worthy of high marks. 7.0 is not a bad review at all, though I personally think it deserves a bit more praise.

Rye

I like but don't love the album. Just not my thing right now.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

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