Written on 01/02/2013 by Ben Woods • No Comments

Christopher Owens: Lysandre – Album Review

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At a glance it would appear that Christopher Owens is out to test the loyalty of his devoted fans: having jumped ship as Girls grew dangerously close to celebrating some longevity (perhaps an attempt to avoid tackling that inevitably ‘difficult’ fourth record) and playing a handful of solo shows that have had a somewhat mixed reception, we have now been offered a concept album; a potentially dangerous format that isn’t making any attempts to appeal to the sceptics with its frankly uninspiring artwork. This said, Girls fans seem to be determined to give the album a chance, and with fair reason.

Titled Lysandre, in homage to the french girl who once held a piece of his heart (and was the first person to preview the completed album), the album tells the tale of Owens’ time in Girls circa 2008; in his words ”a coming of age story, a road trip story, a love story”. 2008 was a big year for Girls, as the band embarked upon their first world tour which lead to the release of their debut record (2009′s aptly titled ‘Album‘), a theme which features heavily throughout Lysandre with references to New York and the Riviera.

Collaborating once again with producer Doug Boehm, we are presented with an album rich with ornate detail and texture that wouldn’t be out of place in the score of one of those would-be-indie yet still distinctly Hollywood motion pictures (see 500 Days of Summer), although does at times meander into the dangerous realms of a B & Q/Home Depo commercial, with the softly-softly strum of nylon guitar strings and occasionally nauseating smooth jazz sax (no, not a big fan of Riviera Rock)

However in the 16 months since the release of the critically acclaimed Father Son and Holy Ghost, Owens has developed a new level of control over his voice,  which enables him to bring to the table a Mark Linkous brand of hopeful melancholia as he questions his own self worth and talent which is both thought provoking and chilling in equal measures.

Here We Go, with its weeping harmonica and bursts of 70′s flute psychedelia, is probably the strongest track on the record, and could easily be one of the handful that Owens is said to have written during the early days of Girls.



The main issue with the record is finding a place for it; it doesn’t quite fill the void left by Girls and you can’t help but feel that it would have been better suited as an EP, shedding the excess baggage that it picked up through it’s concept. But Christopher Owens wanted to release a concept album, and he has achieved exactly that.

Lysandre, like its portrayer, is a solitary record, and an excellent soundtrack to the Girls biopic that is yet to emerge. Perhaps we could get in touch with Antony Corbijn and get the ball rolling…


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