“Don’t try to get me down. Don’t try to harsh my mellow, man!”
Because after multiple listens over the last 24 hours, the short & sweet Lysandre album, brand new from former Girls frontman Christopher Owens, is doing the trick. And yes, Owens does indeed use the “harsh my mellow” line in “Here We Go Again.”
So for anyone who doesn’t know, I am enamored with the Girls catalog – the two albums and one EP. Christopher dissolved the band in mid 2012 to move on to some solo work. The first fruits of his solo labors is the concept album Lysandre, which has been kicking around in his head since the first Girls tour in 2008. For on that tour, while in France, he met a fair French maiden named Lysandre, and they fell hard for each other. Love ensued, but so did separation, as Chris returned to his home in San Francisco. Most of us know how difficult it is to maintain a long distance relationship, and theirs was no different than most of us – it fell apart.
Lysandre tells that story from A to Z in a sweet, sad, fun, beautiful little 28 minute package. My one and only complaint is the abbreviated EP-like length. It leaves me thirsting for more.
Tops for me so far is “New York City”, which is catchy as hell with that cool neo-Brian Wilson vibe, and juxtaposes tales of his pre-band days in Texas (dime bags, guns & knives, making a quick hundred bucks in the back of a pickup truck) with playing to a crowd for the first time in New York City: “But look at us in New York City, everybody’s listening to me.” Oh, and Saxophone warning! There is Saxophone on this track, which some may find over the top or cheesy at parts. I like Chris’s attitude about it though – put it in there, and make it loud! This, folks, is a fun song…
Another highlight is “Love Is In The Ear Of The Listener,” an endearing song about self doubt, the naysayers and critics, and an affirmation that “beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, love is in the ear of the listener.”
All in all, I admire the way this album is put together. As I’ve prattled on about before, any artist who is out there creating something fresh and unpredictable every time out has my respect. It’s one story told over 28 minutes. “Lysandre’s theme” / interlude makes appearances throughout, and ties the songs together. It never leaves the key of A. There’s saxes. There’s Renn-faire flutes. There’s bang-bang beach rock n roll… It’s a half hour journey through California, NYC and France – an enjoyable one that I look forward to riding along to in the months and years to come.
MP3 Download Giveaway – I bought a vinyl copy of Lysandre, and they included a couple of extra download codes for the digital album in MP3 format. If you’re interested in getting a hold of the digital album, leave a comment below. I’ll pick a couple of people in a few days (or – if there’s only two of you, lucky you!).
If you’re bent on grabbing that record here and now (which I heartily recommend), here are some links for you: