Bird Loves Girls
Every so often we like to let you know what tunes are on repeat in the Bird world–and right now we can’t get enough of Girls, the indie rock band hailing from San Francisco, California comprised of main members Christopher Owens and Chet “JR” White. Think Elvis Costello meets Buddy Holly. Think indie meets Gospel. Think one of the best albums of last year.
But whatever you think, Girls is not a band that falls prey to their nods to the past–as Mark Richardson writes in Pitchfork’s review of their latest album, XXX: “the record comes alive with color and personality largely thanks to Girls’ singer and songwriter Christopher Owens. He has a preternatural gift for turning clichés into deeply affecting songs, and as they jump from one style to the next, from delicate acoustic balladry to noisy rave-ups, Owens’ voice and point of view ground the record and make it distinctive. He is the center. As long as he is writing and singing, no matter what else is going on and being referenced, the music will be utterly his.”
And he is the center. Seeing the band perform live last weekend at Terminal 5 with three back-up gospel singers, on a stage filled with bouquets of fresh flowers, Owens was androgynous and captivating.
Richardson describes the timbre of Owen’s voice as essential to the band’s sound, and it is: “On Album, Owens often had the pinched, clogged-sinus tone of Elvis Costello without the sneer, but [on XXX] his vocals are warmer and softer, often bringing to mind the whispery tone of Elliott Smith… His voice exhibits both weariness and innocence and manages to convey hope and despair in equal measure. It also has an androgynous quality that fits the themes of Girls’ music.”
What more can we say? As Richardson concludes, “One of Girls’ specialities is their willingness to go completely over the top but somehow keep us right there with them.”
Girls, we’re right there with you, all the way.