Album Review: Christopher Owens - Chrissybaby Forever

An incredibly poignant return to form.

Rating:

A single chord can say a lot. That jangly warped one at the start of ‘Lust for Life’ – possibly one of the most perfect indie anthems of the last decade – signalled the start of Album; an LP glossed with lo-as-the-depths-of-hell-fi garage stompers (‘Big Bad Mean Mother Fucker’), woozy anthems (‘Hellhole Ratrace’) and tasty slices of 60s-fuelled pop (‘Darling’). It was through this and the slightly more polished Father, Son, Holy Ghost that San-Fran duo Girls built-up a close-knit following of fans. And that’s precisely what made Owens’ departure from the band so bloody painful. They’d only released a handful of songs - beautiful, hazy ones at that - that had the childish qualities of the Modern Lovers and guitar tones more vintage than an OAP in Rokit.

After Girls there came a debut solo album from Owens. ‘Lysandre’ had some beautiful moments, but it felt like the Girls charm had disappeared; it was all acoustic and had a sense of samey-ness that had never plagued his music before. Owens’ next effort ‘A New Testament’ was certainly barrels of fun, with more bluesy twinges being shoehorned into the mix; and, excitingly it felt a little bit closer to re-discovering the previous appeal that Chet Jr. and Owens had masterminded.

And now – just a year later – and we’ve been treated with another new release. Everything looked great from the outset – ‘Chrissybaby Forever’ is one of the sassiest and smile-inducing album titles imaginable, the cover was photographed by indie icon Hannah Hunt and only one engineer was involved in the mixing. After an actual listen? My God – it’s almost like hearing Girls again. ‘Heroine (Got Nothing On You)’ recalls the finger-clicking brand of doo-wop and surf guitar that made Girls fab, while ‘Waste Away’ re-discovers the vintage tone of the band with enough reverb to take out a small herd of cows.

There’s a real sense of optimism and summer to the record as well – ‘Out of Bed’ oozes with sunny charm with its tape-recording and birdsong samples – while the stingy running time of ‘Lysandre’ has been usurped for a gorgeously generous trove of sixteen tracks. The greatest track though is the opener, ‘Another Loser Fuck Up’, an incredibly poignant return to form that opens with a déjà-vu punch of a single chord, almost exactly in the same fashion as ‘Lust for Life’. Considering this time it opens an album that has seen a re-discovering of what made Owens’ music so great in the first place perhaps – just maybe – this chord has somehow managed to say even more.

Read More

Wake up call: Two Door Cinema Club

Wake up call: Two Door Cinema Club

When Two Door Cinema Club returned from the brink with 2016’s ‘Gameshow’, it was sink or swim. Now, they’re ready to float right to the top of the pack with their most experimental album yet.

Unite and conquer: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

Unite and conquer: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

Over the last five years, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes have blazed a cathartic trail across the world. As they release third album ‘End of Suffering’, they dig deep for the sake of sparking hope.

The world according to Stella Donnelly

The world according to Stella Donnelly

Across her debut album, the Perth musician finds herself tackling gender equality, sexual harassment and Australian nationalism, capturing a society in transition.