My whole life through
I want to do some laughing too
So come on, come on, come on and laugh with me
goes the nonchalent heartbreak of a Girls refrain. A duo with help from 'friends', the long-haired Michael Bolton lookalikes Christopher Owens and Chet JR White resemble surf bums at a NY art-rock fancy dress party, at odds with their 60s-inspired, blissed-out Californian noise.
It is a gratifying bit of eccentricity, this mismatch between appearance and sound, if only in the sense of surprise that Girls are actually - well, really quite good. The industry types, Twitterers, photographers and cutey female hangers on (isn't it a school night young ladies?) buzzing around the band after the show are proof of the fuss being made about the San Francisco pair in the corridors of the alternative music scene at the moment. With good reason: throwaway songs like 'Lust for Life', with rousing pop-hookery and grainy garage grinds, is only a sunny Beach Boys-esque corner of what they're about. It's also garage rock meetsTom Petty's croon meets Spiritualized-type guitar wails meet Dylan's sweet harmonica. Drawing from bygone eras of rock is one thing, but a better test of their mettle showcases a nostalgic sense of melancholy. The spaced-out guitar squalls sound like they're plumbing the depths of some memorable summer, and suggest more talent than something just a bunch of blond nancy boys are capable of.
Owens' voice is curiously, wonderfully mature, evidenced not only by the pitch but also his proficient note-hopping during 'Hellhole Ratrace' (which is a whole lot more laid-back and fuzzed out than it sounds). A welter of sun-drenched, fuzzy emotions ricochet through the room, leaving a full sense of catharsis as the summer scuttles to a close.
Image by sAnDy KiM on the band's MySpace.