On September 13th, 2011, San Francisco’s Girls will release their second album Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Two years after their debut (Album), and one year after the follow-up EP (Broken Dreams Club) it is the natural, third entry in Girls’ recorded trinity, and features their most accomplished recordings to date.
Album was a sketch of the life Christopher Owens and Chet “JR” White lived in San Francisco; a messy bedroom broadcast to the world. Broken Dreams Club blasted their home-studio ideas into widescreen projection and served as a crucial stepping stone to newfound studio fidelity. Both releases demonstrated that behind the noise of a backstory loud enough to swallow most bands, stood two true rock craftsmen and traditionalists. Girls employ the whole palette of pop music to convey their own intimate and troubled visions, just as classic songwriters have done before them.
For Father, Son, Holy Ghost the band holed up in a basement recording studio located in San Francisco’s gritty Tenderloin district, where the din of daytime street life forced Christopher to record his vocals during quiet nights, whispering his own stories alongside those of the city’s. Girls deliberately chose to avoid the sterile confines of a traditional studio. Instead they settled on an eclectic environment full of warmth, history, an array of instruments and esoteric recording gear from each of the last five decades. “It was basically 4 concrete walls, a total mess- but it was perfect! I was looking for an environment, not a studio”, says White, “There was no way to avoid the sound of the room, it was all concrete. We wanted a room that was going to sound different…the way Sun Records studio, or Muscle Shoals had their own inherent sound. We put mics under toilets, in old cabinets, and what we got was this huge, open sound. ”
Father, Son, Holy Ghost juxtaposes the pain and beauty, hope and misery, which lie at the heart of gospel music. According to Owens, “the title does come from a religious place, but it’s more about acknowledging the fact that music does have a spiritual quality you can’t put your finger on.” The 3-piece gospel choir that accompanies the band on seven of Father, Son, Holy Ghost’s 11 tracks echoes that sentiment. “Some of the earliest songs we learn are happy and joyous, which is why we sing when we are sad, in a sort of effort to get back to that place of happiness…” says Owens. Christopher’s earliest experiences with music were playing religious songs in the street; here, he elevates his songs to a sacred place — not church but the rock’n’roll songbook, assembled with the toolkit (paper, pen, guitar) of a true believer.
Girls are fearless traditionalists, savants, and provocateurs- everything we suspected they were two years ago – and more. “I’m still all the same,” Owens says. “I still don’t get it and I still know, I have to do it. I still love the songs and writing songs.” So long as he doesn’t fall out of love, Girls will be forever worth listening to.