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Girls - Album

Released on True Panther Sounds, 9/22/09

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Girls seem to want to be Elvis Costello when they grow up, which isn’t a bad ambition to have, actually. Witty, clever, ironically tinged guitar pop is on notably thin ground these days. The question is, are Girls any good at it?

Going on the limited evidence provided by their first offering, Album, the answer is yes. Album is consistently charming from beginning to end, with not a bad track in the bunch. The production is understated and unobtrusive, adding to the vintage vibe -- on tracks like “Ghost Mouth” and “Big Bad Mean Mother Fucker”, Girls sound like they stepped right out of the sixties, in a good way . There’s a bit of Primal Scream influence in there too, particularly on “Hellhole Ratrace”. Other standout tracks include “Morning Light” and “God Damned”.

Vocalist Christopher Owens has a voice that, despite the obvious debt it owes to Costello, sounds fresh and unique within the current landscape. He’s a damn good lyricist too; quirky and interesting, refreshingly self-effacing. Songs like “Lust for Life” speak to anyone’s inner disaffected teenager. The whole effect is oddly British -- how did America produce a band like this? The combination of sweet but minor-toned music and lyrics like “…you’ve been a bitch, I’ve been an ass.” call to mind not only Costello, but Morrissey, maybe even Pulp. The overall atmosphere is yearning, reflective and slightly melancholy without being too depressing -- the perfect album to put on when you’re sitting around with a group of old friends and reminiscing.

Skillful songwriting, clever lyrics, solid musicianship and undeniable nostalgic appeal without having to actually listen to something you’ve heard a hundred times before…this band is going to be huge.