The first solo album from Owens, formerly one-half of Girls, is a concept of sorts, a nakedly confessional tale of touring with a band and meeting and losing the titular girl. Whereas Girls’ records mixed up surf-rock and indie with more orchestral pop (with everything from the Beach Boys to Felt and Spiritualised in the pot) Lysandre has more of a unified soft rock feel, held together with a pretty acid-folk motif ‘Lysandre’s Theme’.
Lysandre doesn’t have the same whiny tendency as some records by Girls but equally it doesn’t produce anything as memorable as ‘Hellhole Ratrace’ from Girls’ debut. Instead, Lysandre is packed with Buddy Holly touches and light Californian 70s pop, with some terribly twee 50s pop touches on the title track and a surfeit of breezy saxophone everywhere else. There are better touches, like on ‘Love is in the Ear of the Listener’ where he’s beset by doubt: “what if I’m just a bad songwriter and everything I say has been said before?” but ultimately this is a lot of uber-romantic froth, a bit like Ariel Pink’s knowing attempts at AOR and just as unsuccessful. Though he asks “don’t try to harsh my mellow, man” on ‘Here We Go Again’, I’m going to have to do just that. Man.