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Album Review: Girls' "Father, Son, Holy Ghost"

September 13, 2011 | 10:00 am

Album Review: Girls' "Father, Son, Holy Ghost"

Here’s a bold way to follow up your critically lauded debut album of sex-scarred, tenderhearted indie rock: with a six-plus minute stalkers’ dirge called “Vomit.”

But by that single’s end, the San Francisco duo Girls untangle the grimy keyboards and sandblasted guitar lines into a stirring, major-key mission statement worthy of a gospel revival. “It’s not enough to be, I need your love,” Christopher Owens sings, finishing off the redemptive arc that his band’s second album, “Father, Son, Holy Ghost,” follows to a humbled, uplifting place.

Girls has a back story steeped in particular tragedy (Owens was raised in the Children of God cult), but much of their catalog tackles the more universal travails of love lost. The beachy “Honey Bunny” and Everly Brothers-worthy “Saying I Love You” showcase Owens’ disarming songwriting and moonstruck voice, and the five minutes of brown-acid guitar heroics on “Die” show this is a band (especially multi-instrumentalist and producer JR White) looking to go big.

But the album’s best moments are its most intimate and attentive — closer “Jamie Marie” is a self-aware jerk’s genuine lament for a botched relationship that hopefully was good enough to get her back. After an album this moving, Owens earned his bit of forgiveness.


"Father, Son, Holy Ghost"


Three stars (out of four)


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--August Brown