Lavin Rant: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost


by Mike Lavin


Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost [True Panther Sounds; 2011]

Girls’ 2009 release Album quite possibly redefined the face of modern indie pop, with its quick-witted, frantic song writing, quirky musicianship, and all out joyride made Girls easily a favorite new artist. The vastly different EP, Broken Dreams Club, in between Album and now Girls’ second effort Father, Son, Holy Ghost revealed Girls found the studio and worked on more articulate, crafty studio-quality music as opposed to Album’s playful lo-fi, basement recording musicianship. Similarly to what Broken Dream Club pointed to, Father, Son, Holy Ghost has beautiful, thought-out arranged melodies, guitar solos, rhythmic sequence, and everything music truly has to offer, all meticulously done in the studio.

 The “grower” phenomenon in musical albums is very interesting. An album sounds disappointing and not as apt, but the more you listen to it, the more it works itself into your brain as something truly enjoyable and entertaining. Father, Son, Holy Ghost is a grower and ultimately sounds better and better with numerous listens. Having patience with Girls’ subtle use of guitar work is rewarding in a whole sense of its own. The intro to the spacious “Just a Song” is the best example of Girls’ ability to start off simply and build into an atmosphere unique and more mature when compared to Album.

The passionate “Vomit” might be one of the strongest tracks of 2011, with its heart-pounding dynamics. The delicate yet eerie guitar line and lead singer Christopher Owens’s hushed “Nights I spend alone” echo with such resonance that the epic cathartic explosion of drums, organ, and guitar is unexpected. “Vomit” also features the unique inclusion of a soul singer and a gospel choir to really top off the high-energy guitar solos similar to Pink Floyd.

Though no definite “theme” or consistent sound is established on Father, Son, Holy Ghost, the tracks have this slick, colorful vibe to them that is is a theme all on its own. The melodies and harmonies all intertwine into a sophisticated and musical originality that really doesn’t need a definite sound structure. Father, Son, Holy Ghost is easily seen as a collection of modern music that nods to past musicians; “Honey Bunny” a fast-paced surf rock nodding to The Beach Boys, “Just a Song” a nice ballad that relates to early ‘70s folk, and “Forgiveness” is just an acoustic build up into a clean, crisp guitar solo eerily familiar to “Stairway to Heaven” from the legendary Led Zeppelin.

Girls still has a charm about them that indicates the group’s complicated relationship with their influences. While sounding like they take all of music’s elements in a blender and letting it mix harshly, Girls’ highly entertaining replay value makes Father, Son, Holy Ghost a monumental album of the 2010s. Father, Son, Holy Ghost proves Girls aren’t just that “basement” band that makes a cutesy record with charm that wins us over instantly; Girls can work in the studio and create high quality music.