Girls - Broken Dreams Club

by Darren Loucaides Rating:7.5 Release Date:2010-11-22

Girls' debut record, Album, sounded like it was recorded at 5am with whatever equipment the band could lay their hands on at such an hour. It was the sound of reckless parties, glorious devastation; killing demons by paradoxically celebrating them in joyful, jubilant, heart-wrenching songs. I'm not going to be so trite as to say Broken Dreams Club, the band's new EP, is the sound of what comes after the party - calming down, recovering, moving on - because it's more than that. But there's no denying that this is a more carefully crafted, more developed, more thoughtful record. Every song is still underscored with pain, but instead of striving against it with drugs and debauchery, they sound like they're thinking their way to absolution.

Owens' voice is noticeably different. Instead of the whiny, high-pitched (lovable) warble we've heard before, the vocals are restrained, even delicate, which fits perfectly with the lyrics, which are all broken hearts and shattered dreams. The music is tighter: crisp basslines and drums are woven together more closely, guitars are more tender, more spidery, and other touches - occasional, well-placed splashes of brass, say - make for a more rounded, deeper whole.

For those that loved Album, I guess this all seems rather boring and disappointing. Sorry about that - it's not at all. It's the sound of a growing band heading in a compelling direction, but still holding on to what makes them so perfect: your life's fucked, your face is covered in tears, but you're smiling. This, my friends, is the unbeatable sound of the bittersweet.

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