When Christopher Owens and Chet “JR” White dropped the cheekily named Album back in 2009, it seemed too good to be true. With a minimalist budget, no producer, and a cult escapee backstory to boot, their Girls had crafted one of the year’s most achingly beautiful debuts and created enough hype to fell any less-than-great follow-up. Cue the Broken Dreams Club EP, the duo’s quieter, cleaner, and undeniably stronger sophomore effort. Over the course of just six tracks, Owens proves himself one of rock’s strongest new lyricists, mixing simplicity, immediacy, and fluctuating points of view to stunning effect. Stylistically, Broken Dreams stretches Girls’ washed-out, lo-fi shtick to even greater heights. Lead track “Oh So Protective One” is a doo-wop-inspired mix of surfy guitars and big brass flourishes, while “Substance” is a soft and slow-building love letter to the dependent life, complete with eerily sweet guy-girl harmonies. It’s haunting, it’s atmospheric, and it’s one of the best mood-capturing records we’ve heard in a long time.


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