Girls, a folksy San Francisco duo, wowed the indie scene with their catchy throwbacks to 1950s rock ’n’ roll on their debut LP, “Album,” in 2009. Two years later, they have returned with a full-length sophomore effort that proves the first time around wasn’t just luck.
Girls retains an ability to turn a depressing tune into something enjoyable and hopeful, with toe-tapping melodies and a refreshing sense of modesty. On their new album, “Father, Son, Holy Ghost,” the band’s lead vocalist Christopher Owens lays his heart out with unbridled honesty.
The lead single, “Vomit,” features a mournful guitar lick and hushed vocals that eventually explode with a powerful organ and a hair-raising backing choir. A distorted guitar tears in and blows everything else away, resulting in a blazing conclusion as Owens professes, “Come into my heart, my love.”
“My Ma” is an existentialist heartbreaker in an album ripe with tear-jerkers. It adopts the same style as “Vomit” — somber homesickness, harmonic organ lines and a stunning contrast between soft guitar strumming and fuzzy distortion. “My Ma” lays bare the harsh reality of life and injects a shot of nostalgia straight into the listener.
The album works cohesively as each track on the release draws from the same thematic elements while employing similar styles of songwriting and composition. The only track that separates itself with a variable texture is “Die,” which sports a seething guitar riff and sounds as if it were torn out of a Led Zeppelin songbook.
The album solidifies Girls as a band with the type of music that holds depth and meaning and brings listeners back to one of music’s original purposes — the art of storytelling.