Girls GirlsFather, Son, Holy Ghost
During the first listen you run the risk of being destroyed. By the time you get to “Vomit”, halfway through the album, you may have already thrown in the towel. We're lucky “Father, Son, Holy Ghost” is not the double album Girls had announced. It sounds heavy enough for two though. Its 54 minutes are hard to digest in one go, but it's hard because Girls don't write songs for the casual listener; they write for those who are willing to share with them all of their pain, to take every blow with them. In that sense, it's an album-religion. A way of the cross, or a valley of tears, where the astonishing song-writing talent of Christopher Owens and Chet Jr White doesn't yield to anything. They're not afraid to give their new songs what they require (unfriendly, extensive developments), nor do they need to embellish them. Brutal honesty seems to make Girls get rid their songs without wanting to, and their expressive range triumphs without the need of masking it. Truly grand.
Broken inside, here the band let it all out. They do it viscerally, fleeing from the exoticism of “Broken Dreams Club” and from the eclecticism of the sweet “Album”. But do not fear: they haven't forgotten about us and they make the storm bearable with some friendly pop pills that encourage us to stay. Strategically placed among the rest of the repertoire, the fabulous “Honey Bunny” allows you to take a breath (much like “Lust For Life” did on the previous album), whilst “Saying I Love You” and the simply perfect “Magic” are perfumed with a seductive fifties aroma. Those are the more light-hearted songs on an album that speak of possibilities, though hard to find, of finding happiness. The better part of the other tracks inherit the cathartic and masochist tone of “Hellhole Ratrace”. The titles of “Die”, “ Vomit”, “Forgiveness” and “Just A Song” practically speak for themselves. Their dry lyrics are about unrecoverable love and their idleness is heard with a knot in one's stomach, like the lament of someone you feel sorry for.
Less lustrous than on their previous releases, the sound of the band is fierier. The genius details that characterised their debut are still there, such as the way the tracks sound important with just a few harmonies and room for emptiness ( “Jamie Marie”), the miraculous unison of aggressive guitar solos of “ Die” with the tender “ Saying I Love You” and the way they pull “ Forgiveness” from its depression - when it's been begging for it for five and a half minutes. But the best thing about the songs is that, however hard to digest, they all purge in the same way. They're razorblades but their cuts feel like a necessary redemption. The album as a whole sounds like a prayer to someone impossible to reach. The printout of the lyrics, written on the sleeve, certifies that psalmist tone – as well as allowing us to compare the San Francisco band to the Gospel side of Spiritualized. One could also draw a parallel with the melancholic glamour of Pulp at their darkest, or with the abysmal sadness of Big Star. Girls know their way perfectly and, most importantly, they know where they can lead to. They haven't only grown with eleven gigantic new songs; they have become more adept instrumentally; showing that their songs become stronger the more naked they are, without make-up to cover the scars.