Review Summary: With a stronger emphasis on songwriting, Christopher Owens solidifies Girls as a band of depth on Broken Dreams Club.
Girls' debut record, while pulled off with luster, could be questioned as to its sincerity. Sure, the sad tales of Christopher Owens' childhood could reflect some influence onto his angsty pop tunes, but the record's sprawling nature might've suggested some doubt as to whether Owens was a songwriter or merely the talented embodiment of a certain style. Album
glamorously incorporated the multiple styles of the "pop revival" sound in indie rock bands, from shoegaze jams to surf rock anthems to lightly crafted, yet moving ballads. All of this in a solid package could very well be overwhelming, but the nasally whine of Owens' vocals as he sang sentimental lines such as "yeah, yeah, yeah, it's coming straight from my heart" left the listener assured with a warm, personable side to the music of Girls.
On Broken Dreams Club
, the songwriting aspect of the band comes through with great strength and the songs present themselves in a manner that comes off as a full, genuine pop recording. While there are decidedly less quirks, Owens and JR White come together on this EP to create something that instead of shadowing the previous record, shows the band blossom into something more serious. Album
was youthful, as Owens crooned about finding a better life and embracing the loose, hippie-esque lifestyle of the band's hometown San Francisco. Broken Dreams Club
starts off reflecting Album
, in which Owens details the miserable thoughts of a broken-hearted girl over blaring horns and detailed balladry. The heart-broken perspective of the first track slowly turns into Christopher Owens' own tale and this time around the songs are sadder, detached from the subtle optimism that was present in the band's earlier work. At times Owens' seems to miss the free attitude he once embodied, as he sings "And all the times that I've tried to go to see if you might be there, I will never get over you, I still got a lock of your hair." The songwriting sounds legitimate, the lyrics earnest, demonstrated on "Alright" as Owens frustrated performance over latin-tinged instrumentation settles itself into a dreamy, fully realized coda. The love-letter to drug use that is "Substance" might have listeners question whether the band has grown, until the song resolves into a gorgeous harmony of "I take the key in my hand and it opens up the day. I take the key in my hand and it takes the pain away."
While presenting itself as perhaps a more focused work than their debut record, Broken Dreams Club
has Christopher Owens as confused about his niche and his sorrow as on the previous album. In fact, this EP may very well depict a more passionate search of Owens' identity and understanding of the world. At times it seems Owens has flat out given up, coming to terms with his broken existence. However on "Carolina", the mixed feelings of doubt, hope, frustration all culminate, pummeling through noise and krautrock coldness before blossoming into a last grab for peace and escape, as a lovely surf song breaks out from the noise. While Owens' hasn't perhaps found a conclusion to his sorrow, Broken Dreams Club
offers a solid, gorgeously produced perspective that shows the true depth of Girls and the yearning that drives the music.