This debut album from San Francisco duo Girls is so subtly engaging, so quietly addictive that it's virtually impossible to pinpoint exactly when, during the listening process, you fell in love or remember your life without this sound in it. It is the work of frontman Christopher Owens and Chet White and though it comprises twelve startlingly simply tracks it seems to encompass a whole history of love songs, each of which rises to the surface at one time or another but never dominate or detract from the central voice, and it's in this voice that the addiction begins.
Recalling as much Elvis Costello as Buddy Holly or Roy Orbison, Owens' 50's drawl is so unique that it could have been the undoing here while stretched out over 44 minutes. But instead it removes the listener from this time and takes them somewhere else. It has the Golden Oldies feel to it but with sometimes crudely produced jangly guitars and Owens' acutely contemporary writing this reference simply adds to the timeless quality and injects a beautiful element of nostalgia. These are heartbreaking songs that are often centered around love lost or yearned for but the quiver and vulnerability in Owens' delivery suggest a deeper hurt. Without this suggestion Album would just be an enjoyable Beach Boys do-over but the simplicity of these songs are underpinned by an emotional complexity.
Musically it's a pretty mixed bag. It tends to divide a lot of its time between the playful jangle-pop of songs like opener Lust For Life or the heart-wrenching croon of slow-jams like Lauren Marie or Headache where we join Owens as he floats weightless in cavernous chambers of loneliness. It can then glimmer with contemporary flair and serve up the lo-fi shoegaze scuzz of Morning Light or the clipped guitar ditty God Damned. The central and most addictive song has to be the first single to be released from Album, Hellhole Ratface. It's by far the longest track and lyrically the most intriguing. As usual it's built around the simple structure that has held our hand all the way through this record. But out of this structure where Owens pines for the brighter days that are surely around the corner he lifts the song into something profoundly special as the chorus is repeated into an unnerving swirling mantra. It's pure genius and might just be one of the best songs to delightfully grace my ears this year. And it sits proud on top of an exceptional pile. These are songs that could so easily have fallen into the category of forgettable pastiche, but instead dazzle with originality and integrity. Highly recommended.
16th Nov 2009 - Tumblr4
Bonde Do Role With Lasers
This Is Happening
A Brief History of Love
Under And Under
(dir. Greg Motolla)
Smell The Magic
(dir. Joe Carnahan)
Great 90s blockbuster, with Harrison Ford carrying the movie on top finger-wagging form.
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Accomplished character piece. Almost stretches itself a bit thin, but it's stylish enough to transcend.
18th Mar 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Dated indie classic that uses music to create pseudo-sentimental highs of little real substance.
18th Mar 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Engaging, nostalgic doc which meanders through the rise and rise of 1995’s greatest band ever.
14th Mar 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Quintessential Gus Van Zant. Great art direction, acting and photography. Possibly better with age.
7th Mar 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Confident indie comedy-thriller that pitches itself perfectly.
4th Mar 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Thoughtful character study, with Eddie Marsan standing up for those who slip through the cracks.
26th Feb 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Brutally fast paced meta-fest, backed up by the most sensible bat-plot for a long time.
16th Feb 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Tenuous financial hostage thriller, that doesn't add up to the sum of its parts.
11th Feb 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Disappointing punk rock horror thriller, that doesn't make the best of its left field set up.
9th Feb 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Potentially forgettable buddy cop pic, elevated by a killer script and live wire performances.
1st Feb 2017Read more 4.5 star reviews
Accomplished, charming NZ indie comedy that wears its influences well.
1st Feb 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made
Inspiring doc about the kids remaking Raiders over 7 summers.
24th Jan 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Eight Days a Week
Inspiring reminder of the sheer volume of trail blazing laid down by The Beatles.
22nd Jan 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Seminal kids movie that I underrated in '85. Shot with an easy pace, until the free-swim at the end.
Halliwell says: The bottomless pit of the Spielberg genre, a silly tale which takes forever to get going and is acted by children who have not studied elocution. The trick effects when they come are OK, but it's a long annoying haul to that point.
22nd Jan 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Glacially paced, pretentious arthouse fluff, that fritters away a potentially interesting set up.
21st Jan 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Unremarkable potboiler from Le Carre, with a disappointingly bland turn from Ewan McGregor.
17th Jan 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Small scale period drama, anchored around strong central performances.
15th Jan 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Ambitious small scale sci-fi that drags a bit before it all gets a bit wacky.
11th Jan 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Tarantino zeros in on the most-tedious-film-ever award. Someone get the guy a new editor.
7th Jan 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Inventive ensemble drama, as David O. Russell takes another shot at Scorsese's crown. Great soundtrack too.
7th Jan 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Dawn of Justice
Mind-boggling, convoluted actioner that seems to have been written by picking ideas out of a hat.
4th Jan 2017Read more 1 star reviews
Extended super hero punch up, not dissimilar to the news man brawls of 'Anchorman'.
1st Jan 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Seamless CGI remake, lacking in humour and executed with the seriousness of LOTR or Apocalypse Now.
30th Dec 2016Read more 3.5 star reviews
Text-book rom-com that rebooted the genre and set the template for the next 3 decades.
26th Dec 2016Read more 4.5 star reviews
Decent enough animated parable from Disney. Lacking the usual emotional Pixar punch.
25th Dec 2016Read more 3 star reviews
A Star Wars Story
Second viewing and it's still holding together well. The third act is incredible.
22nd Dec 2016Read more 4 star reviews
A STAR WARS STORY
Impeccable world building and a nail biting finale mark a solid expansion of the universe.
18th Dec 2016Read more 4 star reviews
Solid Cold War drama. Unfortunately lacking the impact of both Spielberg and Hanks' best.
18th Dec 2016Read more 3.5 star reviews
From 3 minutes in this was the best film I've seen in ages. Nostalgic indie sci-fi.
13th Dec 2016Read more 4 star reviews
Arkward and occasionally hilarious Duplass-esque LA comedy. And only 75m long.
26th Nov 2016Read more 3 star reviews
Worthy, watertight journo movie. Full of great performances, but staying well between the lines.
21st Nov 2016Read more 4 star reviews
Derivative, badly cast cops + robbers pic. A pale imitation of Heat, without the style or performances.
12th Nov 2016Read more 2.5 star reviews
Glacially paced re-hash/follow up to Dazed and Confused, with moments of fun. Great music.
11th Nov 2016Read more 3 star reviews
Stupid action movie that never stops winking at the audience.
4th Nov 2016Read more 2.5 star reviews
LA Confidential meets The Big Lebowski in the best way possible. Great turns from Reynolds and Crowe.
4th Nov 2016Read more 4 star reviews
A classic story and allstar cast, but John Sturges' vintage western seems slow and dated now.
2nd Nov 2016Read more 3.5 star reviews
Beard-heavy special ops bloodbath, with more than a passing nod to the equally impartial Black Hawk Down.
26th Oct 2016Read more 2 star reviews
Boring, meandering re-tread of The Departed. Wannabe Scorcese, with a typically OTT Johnny Depp.
19th Oct 2016Read more 3 star reviews
Smart-ass financial drama. OTT Bale, reasonable turn from Pitt, Reynolds steals the show.
2nd Oct 2016Read more 3.5 star reviews
Terrifying post-nuclear drama. Dated to the mood of its era, but still effectively realistic.
30th Sep 2016Read more 3.5 star reviews
Intense indie drama. Pacing is a little lopsided, but the sentiment and strong performances carry it through.
24th Sep 2016Read more 4 star reviews
Electrifying script, captivating performances and effortless, accomplished direction. Outstanding.
18th Sep 2016Read more 4.5 star reviews
It's only episode 2, but it's Dirty-Harry-by-numbers. Luckily those numbers still add up to something.
Halliwell says: Toned-down sequel to Dirty Harry; the violence is still there but the hero no longer commits it.
18th Sep 2016Read more 3.5 star reviews
Superior kids movie. ET meets King Kong. Bit slow, but ten times deeper than the wafer thin original.
1st Sep 2016Read more 3.5 star reviews
Half baked British thriller. Some decent ideas, but it's all a bit studenty.
28th Aug 2016Read more 2 star reviews
Another disastrous Peter Pan reboot. Nonsensical gibberish, trying to capture some Baz Luhrmann weirdness.
18th Aug 2016Read more 2 star reviews
Super sharp teen movie, bursting with style and originality and loaded with an impeccable soundtrack.
17th Aug 2016Read more 3.5 star reviews
Thoughtful, creative, mainstream indie from Mike Mills. Lovingly performed and put together.
8th Aug 2016Read more 4 star reviews