Consumer Guide Album
Girls: Album [True Panther/Fantasy Trashcan, 2009]
Sometimes a backstory is more than a lead or a peg. Sometimes biographical tidbits situate a newcomer the way geopolitical scraps contextualize a style from a faraway land. So it is with Christopher Owens's history as a teenage escapee from a sexually abusive, culturally separatist cult. Delivered in Owens's throaty, childish wheedle, the tunes make themselves felt even before the grand, low-rent music starts evoking Spector and Brian Wilson sans budget or studio savvy. They suit the love laments too. And when you ask yourself what right this sad sack has to such retro escapism, the knowledge that he liberated himself into a world where '60s pop even existed legitimizes his yearning for innocence and may well be what put the ache in his voice, too. This renders his songs deeper and more moving. Now if only they didn't tail off vacantly at the end.