Christopher Owens has garnered almost as much press for his backstory growing up in the new-age cult Children of God as he has his retro songwriting chops and affable — if not downright shy — demeanor. Almost. Which is a shame, given that his work with Girls has shown him to be one of the most inspired songwriters whose record-pillaging approach to genre, feel and melody has earned him a voice all his own.

Girls

“Love Like a River”
True Panther


Owens took a giant leap forward with Father, Son, Holy Ghost, layering backup singers, keyboards and tasteful, Beatles-esque guitar leads throughout the album. With the exception of leading single “Vomit,” nowhere is this more thoroughly felt than on the proto-rock waltz of “Love Like a River,” a breezy ballad that swings along with jangly guitars, B3 and Rhodes organs and soulful gospel singers in tow until you’d swear you were listening to some hybrid of Abbey Road and Dark Side of the Moon. But don’t let its inflections of dinosaur rock leave you cold; the band’s playing, charged with Owens’s lovesick delivery, is as fresh and inspired as they’ve ever been, even if they make 2011 sound a little more like 1961. Like a band of suits kicking in for a slow song at an ancient prom, you can’t help but grab the girl and dance.

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