Lysandre... Fringe benefits (or something like that)
Review: Christopher Owens – Lysandre
Published on February 6th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Named after a French lass he met while doing a festival appearance, this solo debut from former Girls singer Christopher Owens was “written entirely in one creative outpouring”, which is evidenced both by the album’s short running time (29 minutes) and the fact that at least half of the songs here seem to start in the key of A. Or is Rocksucker imagining that?
Any which way, Owens’s beeline for sunnily disposed, breezily ornate folk-pop is for the most part a successful one: acoustic guitarppegios, canny songwriting routines and the odd embellishment of flute and fuzzy lead guitar distinguish this sweetly lovelorn little collection, with only the occasional application of saxophone feeling at all unwelcome or incongruous. Ultimately, however, the lack of variety and surprises on offer detracts from the overall enjoyment of yer man’s craftily honed instincts, although happily not enough to write Lysandre off completely.
For starters, Owens’s semi-whispered vocal neatly complements the blissful major 7th chords of “Here We Go”, which proceeds to let rip with a delightfully Super Furry Animals-ish alliance of psych-pop chord progression and the aforementioned, arguably underused fuzz lead. “New York City” is one of a couple of tracks to remind of Dear Catastrophe Waitress-era Belle and Sebastian, marking itself out from the array of heartfelt sentiments with lines like “I remember learning how to make a quick hundred bucks / Sleeping in the back of a pickup truck / I remember looking down the barrel of a lonely gun / Texas cops are cooking drugs”, while “A Broken Heart” could almost have appeared on Beck’s Sea Change via latter-day Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.
By now you might’ve gleaned that Lysandre is not all that original, but who are we to “harsh” the “mellow” Owens attests to on “Here We Go Again” when it’s all rendered so sweetly? The minor-key skank of “Riviera Rock” provides respite should you require any – other than that, it’s pretty much wall-to-wall sunny pop vignettes from a sleeve that both bears a heart and conceals the hand of a skilled songwriter. It’s hard to take too much issue with that.
Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!
Lysandre is out now on Fat Possum. For more information, please visit www.christopherowensonline.com