Christopher Owens – Lysandre This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 21, 2013
Christopher Owens spends the 28 minutes that constitute his solo debut, “Lysandre,” reinventing himself as a jack-of-all-trades. After leaving his California beach rock band, Girls, last year, he has cleaned up rather nicely and abandoned his “summer anthem” approach to crafting songs. We no longer have to be bored listening to 13 garage rock ballads in a row, as with Owens's work with Girls.

On “Lysandre,” we are granted the gift of duality: the album has brooding orchestral arrangements as well as catchy, beat-driven pop songs.

The story of “Lysandre” is one of young love, abandonment, and bewilderment. Owens painfully recalls falling in love with a girl while on tour. Throughout the record we are given the details of how they met at a music festival, how they were shy and awkward in an adolescent way, and eventually graduated into staying out all night together under the stars. Though it may sound like the plot of the next big indie dramedy, this story is painted with a brush of experience and regret. We're shown a tale of heartbreak that doesn't hold back any details.

Musically, the album flagrantly displays Owens' need to experiment with brass and woodwind instruments, shying away from his usual guitar-bass-drums-vocals approach. This record, while sure to hold the interest of veteran Christopher Owens fans, broadens the spectrum of musical normality, as with other bands in the SoCal indie scene.

The album begins with a melody that neither soars nor carries, but rather rests with the listener as if to portray a sense of contentment. This same melody, given the name “Lysandre's Theme,” is played at the end of every track with the corresponding arrangement from that particular song. It plays the role of an “amen” as each song prays to be heard again and again.

It's almost a shock when you realize that just 28 minutes have passed. In a mere 11 tracks we are shown a life-changing year-long fling in all its most raw and intimate moments. This album brings into reality the often mythologized aspects of human relationships.

“Lysandre” leaves us with a sense of hope about our own relationships that cannot be replicated in fiction. It instills something real inside of us that can only be a true and beautiful story.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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