Reviews for Christopher Owens’s solo debut Lysandre are in. They are a little all over the place.
Owens frets that people might have had enough of love songs; he’s right to. Except for all the bits about getting high, and the bit about begging his best friend not to kill him, Lysandre is a composite love story as old as the hills, but this retelling is surprisingly refreshing.
Lysandre presents very specific details of a particular moment in Owens’ life– complete with names, locations, and copious references to his singer-songwriter vocation– in a more contrived setting. It’s as if he were staging a dramatized meta-musical about his life.
But self-doubt and soul-searching can be a pose just like anything else, and directness does not always prevent self-consciousness. Without the tensions of a band, Owens can be more plainly and clearly himself, but there aren’t enough signs of struggle.
It’s not like Owens didn’t have a mission for Lysandre – it’s loosely a concept album, about a French girlfriend he had during Girls’ first tour, so we know there was some kind of focus – but too often, it just doesn’t seem like he was as ambitious with the craft of this one as he was with past efforts, however natural they may have sounded. This solo record marks the first place where Owens’s breeziness should have given way to a much sterner, more comprehensive projection of his talent.
I haven’t got my hands on the album myself, but am certainly keen on doing so soon.