Listen to the whole dang thing over at The New York Times.
He is best known as the frontman and songwriter of Girls, a lo-fi band of shifting pop harmonies that arrived on the indie scene around 2007 and, with two albums and one EP, quickly became a critical darling. Songs that married a vulnerable earnestness — “Oh, I wish I had a boyfriend,” Mr. Owens sings in “Lust for Life,” over playful guitar strums; “I wish I had a father, maybe then I would’ve turned out right” — with a louche house-party vibe earned the act a devoted fan base. But in July, Mr. Owens announced on his Twitter account that he was leaving the group, which he formed with the producer and bassist J R White, to pursue a solo career. “I need to do this in order to progress,” he wrote.
His debut CD as Christopher Owens, “Lysandre,” a themed album charting the course of Girls’ first tour and a love affair with a Frenchwoman named Lysandre, is due on Tuesday from Fat Possum Records. It is at once a departure from his previous work — the first track, “Lysandre’s Theme,” is 40 seconds of Renaissance-sounding melody, complete with flutes and classical guitar, that is folded into every subsequent song — and of a piece with Girls. There’s romantic longing, veiled bad behavior and naked self-doubt, set to pleasingly throwback California pop-rock (with flute and saxophone). Composing the theme not long after he returned from the tour, Mr. Owens did all the instrumentation himself — whistling the flute parts in his demos — and in a feverish rush wrote nearly all the songs in one day, a year later.