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20 Watts’ Best of 2009: #17 Girls’ Album by JohnCassillo

Girls' Album is #17 on our Best of 2009 list

TOP TRACK: “Lust for Life”

From the opening surf rock riffs of “Lust for Life,” Girls’ Album had many-a-listener hooked. Lead singer Christopher Owens, a former member of the Children of God cult, and orphan, sounded like damaged goods– but confidently so. His delivery of his shortcomings, wants and needs was corny, yet refreshingly and endearingly witty. Owens never tries to reinvent the wheel, but rather, just plays what’s on his mind.

Maybe that’s what stands out about Girls’ Album, above all else. Owens kindly caters to cliches without any fear of repercussion. There are no limits to Album whatsoever. One second, he’ll be strumming along to something resembling an intoxicated Brian Wilson (“Goddamn”). The next, a ’50s love ballad (“Big Bad Mean Motherfucker”), laden with profanity in his downtrodden murmur. Each track is a distinct state of mind– its own chapter in the larger, still-obscure picture.

Taking from everything from The Beach Boys to Buddy Holly to Guns ‘N Roses, there is little ground left untouched by Girls. Because of this, the space they inhabit seems absolutely limitless– a potentially weighty concept for a band in its infancy. Yet, after such a strong debut, it seems warranted. The future may hold the answers for what’s to come, but at this moment, Girls have one of 2009’s most varied and creative works on their hands.

— John Cassillo

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