Girls on a trip
Raised in a cult, Chris Owens from Californian duo Girls weaned himself off his bizarre upbringing using drugs and punk, before being rescued by a multi-millionaire and setting off on a sonic adventure. And the music is as good as the back story. He talks
IT’S ONE HELL of a back story. While most bands have to embellish the narrative to make themselves sound interesting, Christopher Owens from Girls has no such problems. All he has to do is mention the religious cult he grew up in, his prodigious drug intake over the years and how a multi-millionaire philanthropist saved his life. All of these are subjects he’s more than willing to share with any interviewer who calls.
In some ways, Owens’ tales could easily overshadow the music, were it not for the fact that the cracked ballads, fuck-you anthems and freaky Californian pop moments created by Girls are quite a trip in themselves.
The songs on their debut album, Album, are a blur of emotions, from hurt, fragile fragments about heartbreak, lost friendships and childhood to powerful affirmations of life and the lure of second chances. Throughout the album, the other half of Girls, Chet “Jr” White, works up a storm of fuzzy, ethereal, sun-soaked sounds, evoking a magical, hazy sonic world of wonder. You’ll listen to a tune such as Lust for Life again and again trying to work out how something so simple could be so compelling.
But before those songs saw the light of day, Owens was living a very different life. His parents were members of the Children of God cult, a religious group formed by David Berg in California in 1968. The Children Of God were the kind of cult that gives other cults a bad name, with a chequered history involving