GIRLS play the Mod Club September 27. See listing. Rating: NNNN
Girls' 2009 debut was one of the highest-rated rock records that year, so their follow-up has been hotly anticipated. Much of the debut's charm came from the raw home-recording intimacy and unselfconscious songwriting of Christopher Owens, so we had to wonder if they could repeat the magic with a bigger studio budget and the expectations of the world weighing on them. No retread, Father, Son, Holy Ghost goes exactly where we hoped Owens might take things.
It definitely doesn't sound like it was recorded in a squalid apartment, and that's the point. Instead of a collection of snapshots of Owens going on myriad musical tangents, he bundles his mix of classic pop/rock references into every song, and the result is an even more timeless sound. There are more layers and a prominent soul influence, but also a restrained quality - as if Owens were serenading you from a seedy motel bed. Girls' have traded their early work's immediacy for something that requires more patience but goes much deeper if you've got the time.
Top track: Jamie Marie