A band of boys called Girls giving appreciative nods to the’70s

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Everything about these two guys called ‘Girls’ screams San Francisco. And by that I mean the teenage-dream, beachside-boardwalk San Francisco: meandering, sunburnt, and only truly viewable from a skateboard. Their music sounds like a collection of sonic Polaroids; a collage of ’70s classics and high-school proms. Their third record ‘Father, Son, Holy Ghost’ is certainly worthy of the praise that Girls have steadily accrued over the last few years.

Opening track ‘Honey Bunny’ plunges straight into sunny surf-rock, with a riff worthy of a cowboy montage paired with an irresistibly self-deprecating chorus. By the third track, ‘Die’, the sunniness has to break, and we are hit with a relentless Deep Purple-esque epic reminding us that “We’re all gonna die; We’re all gonna die”. This is the magic of ‘Father’: the whole album is drenched in a brooding, teenage angst that is somehow infectious; even a little charming. It dips and weaves between the most simple and sweet pop ballads and dirty, roaring retro-inspired classics. From the cheesy guitar riff on ‘Saying I Love You’ to the organ-drenched ‘My Ma’ (yes, it’s a song about missing your mum), it feels as though any of these tracks could have been slipped onto ‘Abbey Road’ or ‘Pet Sounds’.

Vomit’, the first single, builds from a quiet rumination on “looking for love” to a sprawling, harmony-laden celebration of classic pop ballads – complete with indulgent layers of souled-up backing vocals.

Yet underneath the sweet demeanour, every line from singer Chris Owens has an honest, emotional quality that – if you listen closely – really will break your heart. For those who don’t pay quite that much attention, you’ll find yourself asking why Girls didn’t play at your graduation. This album might not strike you as a well-oiled machine on first listen, as it jumps almost chaotically from thought to thought. But when it sinks in, ‘Father’ proves an accomplished homage to the songwriters of the ’70s and the teenage ache that still resides in all of us.

 

‘Father, Son, Holy Ghost’ is out through Pod/Inertia.