Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Released: Sept 12 2011
Genre: Indie Rock
Label: True Panther Sound
By: Amy Rylett
Father, Son, Holy Ghost is the second album from the San Francisco based indie rock band Girls.
Christopher Owen’s song writing is what makes this album great – it’s sweet and sincere with lyrics to tracks such as Honey Bunny and Magic lingering in listener’s heads. “Just a look was all it took; suddenly I’m on the hook – it’s magic” The majority of tracks are melodic and have a sense of longing which is probably why it’s so popular; each song is highly relatable. Paired with a voice resembling Costello’s, Owens seems to have the whole teenage angst thing down.
Opening track, ‘Honey Bunny’, has a Buddy Holly-esq surf guitar melody, and upon hearing it for the first time it sounds strangely familiar. However that’s probably what makes it such a good opener – it’s reminiscent of a lot of the popular indie tracks from this past summer. It’s innocent and there’s no hidden agenda; it’s a simple, sweet song, nothing more, nothing less.
There’s more of the same to come in the form of ‘Alex’, the second track on the album, again with relatively catchy lines and even catchier guitar. However it’s the third track, ‘Die’ which is when you can tell that this is more than a summer soundtrack. On this instrumental it’s easy to see influences from other artists – White Denim seem to have played a part in the disjointed feel to this song – the fact that it grabs your attention and leaves you feeling a bit thrown about before placing you gently down into a sort of Pink Floyd chasm as it tails off into the next.
‘How Can I Say I Love You’ is rather disappointing compared to the previous three tracks. It’s just quite boring and mumbles on, although it does pick up with the interesting guitar midway through. Then along comes ‘Myma’; another lazy, longing love song which the band seems to have perfected over the course of making and producing Father, Son, Holy Ghost.
The whole tone of the album changes when it comes to ‘Vomit’. A lot deeper on the emotional side of things, it tells of “Nights I spend alone; I spend them running around looking for you baby”. With almost painful guitar and the slightly gravely sadness that Owen uses throws up memories of being alone. It builds up to The Great Gig in the Sky heights with Bob Dylan sounding keyboard and haunting female vocals. A powerful track indeed.
As the ordeal of ‘Vomit’ lingers, Just a song offers some alleviation. It’s still burdened with the longing that it seems only indie bands can fully utilise but this time with strings and what sounds like chords from a Laura Marling track, patched together with almost tribal drums and a February Stars esq crescendo. Magic follows on after this, almost annoyingly upbeat after the past tracks. Thankfully, Forgiveness drifts quietly in with its nonabrasive lyrics and flowing guitar then a similar pattern with Love, like a river. This change in pace and genre makes it seem as if the first half of the album never happened. The last track, Jamie Marie, is tender and hopeful and draws this accomplished album to a gratifying close. All in all, ‘Father, Son, Holy Ghost’ is a beautiful, well produced and honest album.
Listen to ‘Vomit’ below: