Girls Broken Dreams Club Review

EP. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

Six-track EP closes with an exhilarating taster of things to come.

Camilla Pia 2010

While it’s hardly been the most stable of beginnings (unabashed Beach Boys-aping, lazy record titles – a debut called Album, really? – and a background in hardcore music, punk and religious cults), Christopher Owens and company’s first offering showcased, in places, real songwriting talent. The outfit have been touring it relentlessly ever since. Life on the road has been good for them, as here they return with a mini-album which Owens has dubbed "a letter of intent" and a "snapshot of the horizon" in a press release that thanks fans profusely. "We really couldn't have done this record without each one of you," he adds. "This is Broken Dreams Club – a record from our hearts to yours". Aww, shucks.

The ethereal breakdowns which had become a signature of Girls’ sound are still present, but aside from that and their knuckle-whitening grip on infectious melody, Broken Dreams Club is a marked sonic change for the better. Owens croons about lost love over lushly produced tracks reminiscent of epic 1960s pop and brooding country ballads, and he’s on magnificent form vocally and lyrically. He experiments with his register throughout the record, ploughing the depths of his soul with desolate couplets such as Heartbreaker’s opener: "When I said that I loved you honey I knew it from the very start / When I said that I loved you honey I knew that you would break my heart". Then, on the title-track, "I would like some peace of mind, I’ve got such a heavy heart," as the drums rattle in a funereal fashion, horns lament and a Hammond swirls in the background.

Alright is the most energetic moment, a brief respite from the doom and gloom and a definite nod to C86, and Substance is a dreamy number that finds the notoriously druggy frontman singing about you can guess what; but it’s Carolina that really points to a remarkable future for the San Francisco band. Clocking in at almost eight minutes, pounding rhythms and fuzzy guitars conjure up an atmospheric fug that builds and builds with Owens imploring, "Let’s get out of here, I want to carry you home to California and then I’ll never let you go". The music then suddenly morphs from muted tension with oodles of layering to fast-paced, elastic basslines and jangling riffs in the final minute. It’s an exhilarating taster of things to come.

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