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Album Review
Father, Son, Holy Ghost

Father, Son, Holy Ghost
by Girls

True Panther

Review Date
10th October 2011
Reviewed by
Gareth Meade

Of the two songs that preceded the release of Girls’ second album, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, you might have thought that the six and a half minute loud-quiet-loud epic ‘Vomit’ was the misdirection. But as it turns out, the brasher, adorably featherweight ‘Honey Bunny’ was the one lulling you into a false sense of security. It’s the latter than kicks off the album and even though a much softer middle eight foreshadows what’s to come, it might still surprise you just how especially plaintive this album ends up being.

Girls’ debut did, of course, have similar moments of reflection that stood in contrast to the pace and jangle of ‘Lust for Life’ or ‘Laura’. But Father, Son, Holy Ghost takes its biggest cues from their excellent Broken Dreams Club EP, which ramped up the complexity, maturity and especially production of Christopher Owens and JR White’s songs. It’s such that the (mostly) hard rocking ‘Die’ is the anomaly amongst gentle ballads like ‘Saying I Love You’ or ‘Just A Song’.

Basically, Girls’ have broadened their palette; so much so that it could be Nels Cline laying down the guitar solo on ‘Forgiveness’, or George Harrison back from the grave just to offer a few licks to the countrified ‘Magic’. If nothing else, it’s at least harder to pin them down as another of the lo-fi surf pop set, taking cues from the Beach Boys and few others.

Yes, Girls do still unapologetically borrow from the past. But they also have a wonderful knack for changing the complexion of a song midway through, which upends your preconception of what it will sound like at the beginning and makes the sometimes overbearing familiarity a lot easier to swallow. Owens has a unique voice as well, one which sounds less contrived on this album than their debut.

Father, Son, Holy Ghost may prove too challenging for some of Girls’ early fans, especially during the quieter moments. But by the same token, it could very well earn them a whole new audience, one that appreciates the depth of what’s on offer. Either way, it’s impressive what Girls have pulled off here, given that they had the potential to be as disposable as so many of their contemporaries.


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