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- Posted on Dec 10th 2012 2:00PM by Caitlin White
The cloud of obsession surrounding his former band seems to tire Owens, who is clearly ready to move on into his own territory. His new LP, Lysandre, lilts in and out of physical reality and haunted areas of the heart, a tribute to a girl he met on tour with the now-dissolved band.
"I prefer this to being in Girls. It's a lot easier. It's easier for me to do what I want and be in control of everything. It's just less stress. Less people to like agree on things you know?" Owens tells Spinner while sitting in a corner booth at New York City's Pink Pony Cafe.
"And it's nice, I like presenting it more as my own story, my own songs. It makes more sense for me. I wrote this a long time ago, and I write all the time anyway. It's always been really personal for me so, I can do that more now."
Penned in response to his experiences touring with his old band and a brief but deeply felt love affair, the songs are admittedly from the recent past, and perhaps it's this perspective that lends them so easily to Owens' first solo album.
"I very much love it as a whole, because it's an album that all goes together. At this point it's a whole album for me," he said.
The record wa produced by Doug Boehm, who also worked on the last Girls album Father, Son, Holy Ghost, and features instrumental work and backup vocals from an array of musicians.
Vince Meghrouni provides saxophone and flute, which infinitely color the tone of the album, along with Evan Weiss on guitar and Matthew Kallman on keyboards, both of whom have previously worked with Girls. There's far less rock involved within the music, which creates a clearing for woodland flutes, saxophones and organs.
"I knew what I wanted and I asked them to play pretty specific stuff. I had a general direction all the time, and then for specific things like the theme, it was specific melodies that I wanted played. There's always little bits where people just add their own style or parts, and I used a little bit of it," he said.
Lysandre is honeycombed with lyrics that are at once opaquely simple and weighted down with revelation. The writing feels like the main focus of this album, his primary means of conveying the tumult of sudden fame and love. Owens cites his past experience with Ariel Pink as the catalyst for his solo record. The two, along with Matt Fishbeck, were briefly in a band called Holy Shit, a collaboration which allowed them to became familiar with one another's work.
"He's just really inspiring because he's such a prolific writer. He definitely encouraged me to write my own songs -- that was the main thing that I got from that. Just to not be afraid to do things that are different or a little crazy you know? Ariel, he's a great musician. I just wanted to do what he was doing. I just did it my own way."
The result is an album that feels like a long-lost postcard. The picture Owens paints of his life during this time is so clear and cohesive, so steeped in love and loss that the result will surely erase the endless pining over the break-up of Girls once and for all. Owens has arrived as a solo artist, and he comes into his own with a stoic commitment to emotionalism that works powerfully within its own opposition.
Lysandre comes out on Jan. 15, 2013 via Fat Possum in the U.S. and Turnstile in the U.K. Listen to the first two tracks from the album "Lysandre's Theme" and "Here We Go" via Sound Cloud below.