Review Summary: What if people are sick of hearing of love songs; maybe I should sing about dying? Or maybe I should sing about how on Earth I could control what comes out of my mouth?Lysandre
, Christopher Owens’ first record since leaving indie rock band Girls, sounds somewhat too celebratory upon first listen, but it’s hard to begrudge the American singer-songwriter being in a slightly festive mood. While Girls and its many successes may now be a thing of the past, Owens’ newfound solo career has also provided him an opportunity to satisfy his own creative whims and fancies. Now unencumbered by other worldly concerns – Girls’ constantly shifting lineup, for instance (“I counted out the amount of people that were in the band over the years – it was 21, a giant amount of people; that's feeling disappointed 21 times over," explained the singer to Pitchfork Media) – Owens admits he is already sitting on a couple records worth of new material.
Of course, he is quick to insist that the gap between writing and recording gives him the distance to reappraise his songs’ quality, which immediately makes Lysandre
– whose title is apparently taken from the name of a girl he met on the first Girls tour – counsel’s opening statement. The album also reunites the artist with Father, Son, Holy Ghost
producer Doug Boehm, and the pair don’t take long to get up to their old tricks, variously dipping their toes into various genres such as surf rock, folk, and soul, whilst taking care to fill every inch of the record with a lavish production style that makes proceedings seem all the more dramatic. While the repeat usage of the “Lysandre Theme” as a leitmotif in most of the songs makes things a bit predictable, when they do come together they underscore a truth that goes beyond the written description, so it is little wonder that Owens has chosen to call his album "a coming of age story, a road trip story, a love story" all at once. “Here We Go” strums the doldrums away, pushing the American singer-songwriter’s acoustic guitar to the forefront and allowing him to usher in a relaxed gait that both comforts and informs. Elsewhere, “Riviera Rock” paints a picture of a Mediterranean beach at sunset, whilst the gospel choirs and mazy horns of “New York City” throw up a flustered but heady vibrancy that wouldn’t seem out of place on the back half of Album
. At only 28 minutes long, Lysandre
is easily digestible in a single sitting, but that really just embellishes its true purpose – to temporarily whet our appetites till all those other Christopher Owens solo records appear.