Published Sep 26, 2014As frontman for the now defunct Girls, Christopher Owens developed a cult-like following among music fans and critics alike; Girls could do no wrong. After disbanding though, Owens' solo material never reached the heights that Girls' two releases did. His first solo outing, Lysandre, while far from being reviled, received only a moderately positive response, one that was tainted with apprehension and frustration at its lack of ambition. A New Testament is even less ambitious, yet still enjoyable, which is somewhat disheartening considering Owens has reteamed with Girls bandmates John Anderson, Darren Weiss and Danny Eisenberg, with very little added flourish.
Owens' sophomore solo full length is an album full of easy and catchy little ditties, fully ensconced in the American country and gospel musical tradition with very little reinterpretation. "Nobody's Business" works as a modern rework of Elvis' "Return To Sender," the very literal "Key To My Heart" could easily be included in a musical segment on Sesame Street and "Over And Above Myself" definitely does not go above and beyond anything Owens has previously released. Sometimes Owens' homage to classic Americana works, such as on album standout and pre-Girls leftover "Overcoming Me," which starts off as nursery rhyme version of "Unchained Melody" but quickly evolves into a full-blown modern blues track complete with gospel outro. And while Owens and co. may not have made "something beautiful together" as the lyrics in "Over And Above Myself" would suggest, they have definitely made something pleasant, which sometimes is all you can hope for. (Turnstile)