Hype…..Hype….Hype….oh the hype………
For about a year now San Francisco’s Girls have been buzzed and hyped about to meteoric levels. Lighting up magazines and blogs with each new song that was released, Girls had most of the musically “hip” community in a frenzy that would put a dog chasing a squirrel to shame.
The most notable thing about the albums opener “Lust For Life” is the whiny vocals that frankly sound like they are over done. At the core this is a pretty catchy pop song sounding like it would fit great alongside a record collection that includes The Clash, Elvis Costello and a number of 50’s records. It could easily be a great song if lead singer and songwriter Christopher Owens would tone down the purposeful flutters of his voice. This blatant vocal variation doesn’t appear on the entire album and in turn the songs that don’t contain it are markedly better.
The largest downfall is that this disc peaks out at the second track “Laura”. This heartfelt pop gem shows that the band has some true potential in crafting tight pop hooks that play on the 50’s feel yet still feel remarkably fresh. The next 3 track sound half baked and gimmicky and it is not until the”Summertime” that my attention is again fully gained. When I say that the songs sound half baked, I refer to the fact that most of them plod along without any excitement and frankly without anything to really differentiate them from one another. “Hellhole Ratrace” for instance sounds no different than anything you would find on a Glasvegas album and with its 6 plus minutes in length it can really wear on you with the thin hook it was built around. Most of the second half of the album even with a hand full of the songs close to 3 minutes, labors along failing to beg for a second listen. Repetition is not bad when there is either grit or emotion to be the centerpiece, but what you have here is bland vocals coupled with motionless music.
It wouldnt be wise for me to not mention the two songs that seem completely out of place on this record, when listened as a whole. “Big Bad Mean Mother Fucker” and “Morning Light” belong as b-sides because they really detract from the flow and are quite juvenile which doesn’t suit this band well. They seem to be trying to sell us on a theme and these songs stray far from it.
Girls debut Album is not without a few gems but I stress the fact that they are very few and the few that there are barely warrant much of a passing glance. I can hear passages of great ideas and would not write this band off yet, but they have a lot of ground to make up after the hype that was heaped on them for the past year. Do yourself a favor and download “Laura”, Summertime and “Darling”, the rest of it you will not miss at all.