Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost

Father, Son, Holy Ghost is San-Francisco indie band Girls second album proper, and it’s testament to singer Christopher Owens’ song writing ability and vocal deliveries that it already feels like a classic record. Unashamedly borrowing from the past yet never indulging in cheap pastiche or 60’s gimmicks, Father, Son, Holy Ghost uses what are fast becoming Girls’ trademark influences and adds the bands’ own spin- the main spin being Christopher Owens. The Beach Boys, The Beatles and Elvis Costello all get an airing at some point or other, as well as the occasional Deep Purple curveball. But it’s Owens that really sets the album apart and takes it above being a dad-rock mixtape; using simple, straightforward lyrics that give the album an honesty and almost naivety that proves to be endearing over the 54 minutes.

The jumpy opener of “Honey Bunny” stands out as one of the albums poppier moments, a jittery surf rock jam that is immensely foot-tappable, with Owens declaring, “I know you’re out there, you might be right around the corner/And you’ll be the girl that I love”. It’s not deep or particularly thought provoking, but it is morish in its simplicity. “Saying I Love You” almost borders on country rock, but we’ll forgive it for, unlike country rock, not being shit. “I hear you crying now, what can I do?/You threw my heart away, you made me blue”. The innocence that runs through Owens’ lyrics throughout provides a way for anyone to enjoy this record; young, old, lovesick or not. You’d do well not to be moved, for example, by Owens’ affecting admissions on “My Ma”, “Oh God, I’m so lost/And I’m here, in darkness”. Perhaps the album’s most touching moment comes on mellow closer “Jamie Marie”, with Owens recounting his regrets and thoughts on a love lost, “Maybe it’s alright, I mean, I went and found the modern world/But I miss the way life was when you were my girl”. These are lyrics that are both deeply personal and, perhaps more impressively, universal.

It should also be noted that just because Father, Son, Holy Ghost wears its influences on its sleeves that the feat of penning catchy, recognisable sounding songs isn’t any less impressive. All of these songs carry with them the sense that you’ve heard them before, but you’re damned if you know where. The summery, feel good “Magic” for instance sounds like something The Kinks might have written when they were in a really, really good mood, sort of. “Die” is a stoner rock number that instantly brings to mind a Led Zep/Deep Purple collab. Arrangements come in, fade, and pick up again exactly where you expect them to throughout the album- which only serves to reinforce the notion that you’re listening to a great body of music. “Just A Song” is bookended by swirling acoustic guitars, and even the songs latter stages of classical instrumentation and pastoral woodwind just seem to fit.

I should point out- the album is in no way boring. It’s cohesive and gels perfectly, but songs still take a turn for the unexpected. “Vomit” for instance threatens to be a doom and gloom confession from Owens, “Nights I spend alone/I spend ’em runnin’ round looking for you, baby”. On the one hand it is, but the song is almost woken up thanks to some generous organ work and a euphoric refrain of “Come into my heart” that borders Pink Floyd territory. The aforementioned wig out of “Die” is placed between two of the albums more lovelorn numbers, and “Forgiveness”, which comes after the chirpy “Magic” is an eight minute long emotional rollercoaster- mainly going down.

Father, Son, Holy Ghost is heavy, playful, sad, fun, and catchy. What’s not to love?


1. Honey Bunny
2. Alex
3. Die
4. Saying I Love You
5. My Ma
6. Vomit
7. Just a Song
8. Magic
9. Forgiveness
10. Love Like a River
11. Jamie Marie

Girls - Father, Son, Holy Ghost, reviewed by Lemon on 2011-10-07T10:55:38-07:00 rating 4.6 out of 5

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