When San Francisco’s Girls emerged on the indie scene back in 2009, they created an explosion of buzz due to their sun-drenched, tightly executed pop debut Album. After spending some time touring in Europe and America, the band is back with a new EP, Broken Dreams Club. The EP shows that Girls have not lost their talent in making straightforward, catchy indie pop, but Broken Dreams Club displays a softer, less surf-punk sound. Owens’ vocals have a more mature element to them (which popped up on Album), and he’s eliminated the cheeky, youthful snarl heard on songs like Lust for Life. The adult sound comes through as well in the EP’s lyrics, which trace heartbreak and general melancholy as the instrumentals provide a tropical lounge pop sound of the 50′s and early 60′s.
The first track, Oh So Protective One begins with richly deep horns as Owens’ croon (holding traces of Elvis Presley) paints a detailed and perspective description of a young girl’s heartbreak through lyrics like, “he’ll never know about the times you cried in the movies, never know about the times that you cried to the music, about your mother or your father or the way you got your broken heart”. The combination of a melodic guitar hook and interjecting horn solos produce a innovative, retro sound that shows great musical prowess.
Broken Dreams Club’s single Heartbreaker is a more uptempo look at the pains of love and growing up. A steady drum beat and swirling guitar creates a wave of sound as Owens recounts about the one who got away. The song additionally ruminates on self-doubt, “there’s a voice in the back of my head that say’s your always gonna be alone” that rings true to everyone and anyone whose been rejected. Heartbreaker’s memorable chorus is pop at its best with the straightforward, but still poetic refrain of “cause when I said I loved you honey, I knew it from the very start. When I said I loved you honey, I knew that you would break my heart.” Holding true to good rock basics, the guitar shines in a super gem of a solo mid-song, and Heartbreaker nicely wraps things up with a crisp out drumming.
Track Five’s Substance is the most world weary of the EP, painting a truthful take on drug use. The song doesn’t glorify it, but thankfully isn’t preachy either. Instead Substance simply shows drugs for what they are, an escape, but one that only works for so long. “Who wants something real, when you could have nothing? Why not just give up, who wants to try?” The maturity beyond your years and burnt-out vibe is reinforced through the lounge-heavy instrumentals, (with a called out guitar solo), and inclusion of a male/female duet at song’s end. Broken Dreams Club proves to be quite a memorable and strong sophomore release, showing that all the hype Girls garnered from their first release was well-deserved.
By: Stephanie Glass