Girls GirlsBroken Dreams Club
Christopher Owens wants to be Roy Orbison. Or Chris Isaak. He’s put on a tie, bought a pair of shiny shoes and went out ready to turn into mood-swing loving crooner (the closing track on this fabulous EP, “Carolina”, is one of those songs to get submerged in and forget about the world for about eight minutes). After a brilliant debut ( “Album”) in 2009 (which landed them comparisons to their idols The Beach Boys, but also to Elvis Costello and even Buddy Holly), and touring endlessly during 2010, Owens and Chet ‘JR’ White (the hardcore centre of the band) and the others (Ryan William Lynch, Garett Godard and Matthew Kallman) decided to record this mini-album (called EP, yes, even though it’s 30 minutes long) in San Francisco, which Owens dedicates to their fans. Because without them, they wouldn’t be anything.
So what does “Broken Dreams Club” sound like? Well, it sounds like a (so far) unheard of side of Girls. Like an unexplored path on their debut album (the one of the elegant song of desperate love: “Heartbreaker” or how to turn the adrenaline of the first efforts of the band into liquid sonic maturity), which borrows heavily from the fifties, most of all from the fabulous Everly Brothers, but also from the great Roy Orbison and even from noir country and blue velvet Americana (think Jace Everett, the guy loves the vampires from “True Blood”, and, definitely Chris Isaak). Like that, Owens, who exceeds himself with regards to his song-writing (his lyrics aren’t stories, but they sound like them), asks his girl to tell him how her heart was broken and how many times she cried in her room, all alone, or in her classroom (on the splendid opening: “Thee Oh So Protective One”). And he does so with the manners of The Last Shadow Puppets but without their presumptuousness, without their nerve, constructing each track (with a base of trumpets, Spanish guitar and splendid alt.rock riffs) the way an apartment building is set on a steep San Francisco street. Owens sings to solitude (oh yes, it’s pretty hard to be on your own, as he explains on “Broken Dreams Club”, five delicious minutes of sad ballad, without trumpet) and to everything we lose ( “Who wants something real when you can have nothing?”, he says on the best cut on the album, “Substance”, with sighs, a girl’s voice, and once more, the spirit of Orbison, at least at the start). There are tracks, like the kaleidoscopic “Alright” (note the short but intense guitar solo) that could make Jeff Tweedy’s attempts at sounding cool turn pale. And tremendous, like the misty “Carolina”, eight minutes of sizzling wall of sound and a promise: “I’m going to take you out of here, I’ll take you home, to California, and I will never leave you” (complete with doo-wop). Owens is a giant. A giant crooner.
Girls - Heartbreaker