Turnstile/Fat Possum (label)
14 January 2013 (released)
22 January 2013
This is a curious album from Christopher Owens, an American singer/songwriter, who used to front the now disbanded Girls. It’s a debut, dealing with a very specific period of his life which has seen the good and not so good times.
It’s an album of several styles and at times a lot of fun and quite playful. Take the two opening numbers proper the sauntering, folky Here We Go and the busy, upbeat, faux jazz of New York City which tempo belies the grim lyric. At times it sounds like his tour itinerary put to music as he recounts his travel and festival experiences; such as the chirpy Here We Go Again, the virtually instrumental light reggae of Riviera Rock, and the tedious, almost juvenile, Love is in the Ear of the Listener.
However, it’s the personal elements that are the driving force of this album. The title track Lysandre, three-quarters of the way through, is the beginning of the end in that all the songs that follow deal with this relationship. Lysandre has a quirky, light almost comedic feel to it, while Everywhere You Knew has a more plaintive, despondent air. The short Closing Theme just repeats Lysandre’s Theme, that opens the album. The final track Part of Me is a pleasant, jaunty number, suggesting he’s feeling a bit chipper and come to terms with everything.
The musicianship is first class, the production fine and Christopher Owens’s voice is passable and suits the songs.
Owens’ is upfront that this album documents a particular part of his life, and presumably looking bringing it to a close; only he will really know if really does. But, there is something very odd about this album; a sense of childishness pervades it – even the more serious songs - and it doesn’t quite hang right.