TRUE-010-Girls-Album-smallIt is fitting that Girls debut, aptly titled Album, was released on the first day of fall. The San Francisco duo, comprised of lead singer/guitarist Christopher Owens and multi-instrumentalist Chet “JR” White, write songs with a summer tinged sound to them that owes a great amount of debt to the California bands of yesteryear. Big on hooks and melody, while still remaining very substantive, Album is a fun record from start to finish, and is the perfect antidote to the changing weather.

Girls have a certain aesthetic about them that reflects their laid back sound. The two members of the band have openly discussed taking Valium and prescription pills in interviews and often get stoned. While this might make one think of the drug infested stoner rock genre, which focuses on heaviness and sleaziness in their music, Girls are quite the opposite. The guitars on the majority of the songs are very sunny and lighthearted. They are usually awash in reverb, giving off a more relaxed and surf-rock oriented vibe. The bass is present and full-sounding, and there is a range of diversity presented in the percussion. When it all comes together, the music can give one the feeling of sitting outside in the sun surrounded by friends or dancing around a beach campfire on a warm summer night. Even on the more melodramatic songs, the music reflects the slow burn of summer before the long seasons ahead.

Opener and instant standout “Lust for Life” gets things started with an insanely catchy guitar riff, coupled with lyrics about wanting the simple things in life. “I wish I had a father/Maybe then I would have turned out right,” sings Owens, with a very urgent, raw sounding voice. When the band enters in on the heels of a strong bass line, the song really takes off. The song acts a great testament to the bands ability to perform strong pop songs, filled with vocal hooks and musical melodies. “Laura” quickly follows it up with a catchy number about Owens wanting to remain friends with a girl, despite all the troubles between them, on top of another strong musical arrangement. It is evident that Girls have studied everything good about their predecessors and have channeled it into something completely their own.

Perhaps Girls biggest strength on Album is simply how confident they sound when they play. At almost seven minutes long, the slower “Hellhole Ratrace” could easily have been an overindulgent, saturated bore. However, it’s strong, introspective lyrics and an attention to detail and substance in the music arguably make it the strongest song on the album. This is because the band posses an ability to make every second of every song count. There is not a single song that could be considered filler save for the instrumental “Curls” which, even then, is not to say that it should be discarded. Even the last song on the album, the well executed and memorable “Darling”, is worth listening to, ending the album on a very high note.

It is not very often that a band will release an album that shows that they are meant to be taken seriously, while at the same time is an absolute joy to listen to. With Album, Girls have done just that. They have released an assured, confident album filled with clever pop songs that will remain in your head for weeks. It will be exciting to see where the group does next, but for the time being you should enjoy a sunlit drive down the highway with this keeper of a debut.