Spun: Girls

September 2009 saw Girls break onto the American indie scene with their remarkable debut, simply called Album. What was equally remarkable and fascinating was the morbid story of band co-founder and frontman Christopher Owens.

Owens grew up in the Children of God cult, where he watched a younger brother die due to neglect and a mother forced into prostitution. He escaped and settled in San Francisco, where he met Chet “JR” White. Together they recorded the debut album — a dreamy affair punctuated by fuzzy guitar and big echoing drums that was a definite throwback to the Beach Boys and Buddy Holly. And yet it had an uncommon sense of impetus that erupted on tracks like “Lauren Marie,” “Summertime” and “Lust for Life.”

Their latest effort, Broken Dreams Club, sees them further their experiments firmly rooted in surf rock, but their impetus is gone. The album is slower and more relaxed than their debut, epitomized by the meandering affair “Carolina.” Though the album is an improvement technically — both in terms of instrumentation and songwriting — it seems like Girls are content to run in place, rather than forging ahead.

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