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Christopher Owens: Lysandre (Fat Possum/Turnstile) 

After the prompt dissolution of Girls, frontman Christopher Owens returns with a whisper of a solo effort. Framed around a pastoral folk leitmotif, Lysandre is occasionally touching and incredibly brief (29 minutes). The first official track is the gorgeous "Here We Go," which deftly balances acoustic picking with a fuzzed-out chorus and Owens' wounded perspective ("If your heart is broken/ You will find fellowship with me").

Lysandre proves Owens remains a fertile musical force, but the expectations created by the magnificent output of Girls leave this release feeling anemic. As its content makes clear, the origins of Lysandre are rooted in heartbreak adding depth to its rawness. Still, the giddy bounce of "New York City" and "Here We Go Again," recurring themes be damned, are too similar, and the former suffers for an ill-advised saxophone backbone while the latter limps along as sloppy punk-folk.

Thankfully, Owens bolsters Lysandre, as he still seems both a genuine article and a true believer. His sensibilities are truly tortured and tender, and his love of the possibilities of music—as expressive, as restorative—are consistently winning. This is why the calypso rockabilly of "Riviera Rock" may not logically fit the album's overarching love-loss theme, yet manages to succeed through sheer tenacity and commitment.

As a slight, ramshackle release, Lysandre manages to close strongly (and portend stronger future work) with the touching, reminiscent "Everywhere You Knew," and the sunset country shuffle of "Part of Me (Lysandre's Epilogue)."

More by Michael Petitti

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