Album Review: Girls – Broken Dreams Club EP

On the True Panther Sounds record label website, a love letter written by label member Christopher Owens is published. Owens and Chet “JR” White are the two California boys who make up Girls. The letter’s subject is you and me: the fans. His confession that without us, their fantastic new EP, Broken Dreams Club wouldn’t exist is oozing with sincerity and endearment to a surprising and delightful degree, for I fear we are the ones who should be thanking them.

It starts out with “Thee Oh So Protective One,” an almost loungey, luxurious cruise ship dance tune. It has the kind of sound meant to be played on or by water, begging for a steel drum to make a cameo, but Girls know better than to ham it up that far. In all seriousness, it’s a well dichotomized song with an easy, rich and full sound with brilliant, almost majestic trumpet incorporation but then sad and unfortunate lyrics: “He’ll never know about the times that you cried in the movies, never know about the times that you cried to the music” and insecure reflections: “I wonder if he’s impressed/Should I have worn the other dress?” This first track is also a great introduction to Owen’s classic vocal style, conjuring that of Burt Bacharach.

White’s bass skills really shine through on “Heartbreaker.” The bass drives the song and adds an extra level of cool to this already radical song. It’s full of charm from the groovy, playful vocals, expert bass, innocent and earnest piano, 80s electric guitar riffs to the light, twinkly tambourine. This well polished song exhibits professional production and a band who means serious business, as far as quality is concerned.

There’s a significant country influence on the title track and on fittingly titled “Carolina,” the former with a somber blues tone actually quite in line with Bright Eyes’ I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning. The muffled, raunchy horns add a nice ragtime jazz touch. “Carolina” is much more experimental but still carries the twangy, drawling, country guitar featured on “Broken Dreams Club.” “Carolina” is a delicious pop dish with booming lines delivered a capella, an oldies “do run run run do do run run” refrain in the background and trippy electronic effects.

“Substance,” if you couldn’t guess from the title, is about drugs: “If you want to shape your brain, I know a substance…that helps you rock and roll.” Ironically enough, it seems to be an anti-drug anthem mocking drug users and their absurd habits, and based on their West Coast, partially ex-hippie cult background (Owens hails from the Children of God cult – or movement – spawned during the 60s California drug phase), are probably mocking themselves: “You can do anything yeah, you can rock and roll outta control/Who wants something real when you could have nothing/Why not just give up, who wants to try.”

This record is buoyant, a little kitschy, and varying in styles. If you’re not already one of the addressees of Owens’ letter, listen o this EP immediately and find out what you’ll soon to be gushing over.

Watch Magic Kids’ “Candy” Performed Live In Oakland

Magic Kids’ debut album Memphis, named after their hometown, out on True Panther Sounds came out in August and has led them to be compared to E.L.O, Belle and Sebastian, all with a Beach Boys influence. The video they have just premiered for the artsy music bloggers at Yours Truly is a record of their first venture out in the Bay area, where they performed at the Oakland’s Ghost Gallery on February 15th, 2010. During this rendition of “Candy,” the band was joined by Christopher and Garrett from Girls, Max from Smith Westerns, members of a weekend flute club, a string section and more friends for a touching and laid back performance.
Watch the video below:

If this intimate live performance caught your attention, you may want to catch Magic Kids on their tour, which currently has them running around Europe but will see them back in the US of A in November!

Here are their upcoming tour dates:
10/1 – London, UK @ Barfly
10/2 – London, UK @ Camden Proud Galleries
10/3 – Bruges, Belgium @ Botanique/Witloofbar
10/5 – Amsterdam, Holland @ Paradiso
10/6 – Tilburg, Holland @Tilburg 013/Batcave
10/7 – Hamburg, Germany @ Molotow
10/8 – Helsingar, Denmark @ Musikhuset Elvaerket
10/9 – Oslom, Norway @ Café Mono
10/10 – Gothenburg, Sweden @ Pusterviksbaren
10/11 – Stockholm, Sweden @ Landet
10/12 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Lades
10/13 – Berlin, Germany @ Magnet
10/14 – Köln, Germany @ Werkstatt
10/15 – München, Germany @ Atomic Cafe
10/16 – Zurich, Switzerland @ Club Zukunft
10/17 – Milan, Italy Indierocket party @ Rocket (free entry)
10/18 – Paris, France @ Point Ephemere
10/19 – Oxford, UK @ Jercicho Tavern
10/21 – Bristolm UK @ Louisanna
10/22 – Bristol, UK @ The Social
10/23 – Cardiff, UK @ Swn Festival
10/24 – Newcastle, UK @ The Cluny
10/25 – Leeds, UK @ Nation of Shopkeepers
10/26 – Birmingham, UK @ Hare and Hounds
10/27 – London, UK @ TBC
10/28 – London, UK @ Lexington
11/05 – Dallas, TX @ The Cavern (with Bosco Delrey)
11/07 – Houston, TX @ Numbers (with Bosco Delrey)
11/08 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon (with Bosco Delrey)
11/10 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 (with Bosco Delrey)
11/12 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge (with Bosco Delrey)
11/13 – Brooklyn, NY @ Silent Barn (with Bosco Delrey)
11/15 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern (with Bosco Delrey)
11/16 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle (with Bosco Delrey)
11/17 – St. Louis, MO @ Firebird (with Bosco Delrey)
11/18 – Nashville, TN @ The End (with Bosco Delrey)