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Band Girls builds on cult beginnings

Christopher Owens of the band Girls performs at

Christopher Owens of the band Girls performs at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. (Getty) Photo Credit: Christopher Owens of the band Girls performs at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. (Getty)

When Girls' debut album came out in 2009, it became an instant sensation in indie rock circles due to singer Christopher Owens' simple, direct lyrics of love and longing and his embrace of classic sounds that ranged from '50s pop to punk rock.

Owens' style was developed in the most unlikely of places: He grew up in the Children of God cult and wasn't exposed to much popular culture until his teens. He had a brother die because the cult wouldn't get him proper medical treatment.

Girls' latest album, "Father, Son, Holy Ghost," finds Owens continuing to come to grips with his upbringing while expanding his band's sound.

Though some stripped-down tracks remain, the new album has heavy metal guitars and a gospel choir adding weight to songs about forgiveness, Owens' ongoing search for love and his relationship with his mother, which he describes as good but "a bit damaged."

While "Father, Son, Holy Ghost" is a leap forward in many ways, it's what Owens envisioned from day one.

"These are things we would've liked to have done all along," he said. "You're hearing a group getting more creative opportunities and support rather than changing."


Girls perform on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Terminal 5. 610 W. 56th St., 212-582-6600, $25.

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