Girls

Father, Son, Holy Ghost

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Girls' second full-length sees indie rock songwriter Christopher Owens and his multi-instrumental sidekick Chet "JR" White getting better acquainted with the studio and growing more indulgent. All too often, artists follow up a breakout debut with a difficult sophomore outing, and Girls fall prey to the syndrome, overcompensating for average songs with dazzling instrumentation. It’s probable that after recording a straight-ahead EP, they wanted to show off their range, and as a sprawling, 54-minute epic, Father, Son, Holy Ghost is decidedly vast, but it also goes completely over the top. “Alex,” “Saying I Love You,” and “Forgiveness” fit with the ‘50s/Americana vibe of the Broken Dreams Club set. “Die” sounds like a stoner rock version of Deep Purple's "Highway Star" before it gives way into a Pink Floyd outro. The dreamy organ ballads “My Ma” and “Vomit” take the Floyd craftsmanship to the next level with a questionable addition of soul singers. Elsewhere, flamenco guitar, Mellotron arrangements, and sweeping guitar harmonies shape simple Merseybeat and soft rock templates into majestic psych-prog-tinged rock numbers. If there is a unifying theme, it’s that many of the songs start slow and escalate into overblown jams, with extra session musicians filling the gaps. As a duo, Girls felt comfortable like an old, weathered T-shirt, and now they feel like a well-pressed dress shirt with extra starch. The good news is that this album proves they are top-level purveyors of pop. The bad is that the eccentricity that once flowed freely feels forced.

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