No matter what he’s singing, Christopher Owens has a way of sounding like the most earnest guy in the room. That sincerity lent an interesting tension to his more abrasive work with Girls, the San Francisco indie-rock band he cofounded before it dissolved last year. Now Owens is on his own, trying his hand at being a candid singer-songwriter. “Lysandre,” his solo debut, is a slip of an album, 11 songs under 30 minutes, and it’s a fascinating curveball. It starts with an instrumental passage snatched straight from a Renaissance fair (replete with flute) and goes on to chronicle love affairs and his first tour with Girls. The songs, mostly acoustic, have the intimacy of Kings of Convenience, with the occasional jangle of Belle & Sebastian and Jonathan Richman’s penchant for ribald storytelling. Owens is an open book here. On “Love Is in the Ear of the Listener,” he wonders aloud: “What if I’m just a bad songwriter / And everything I say has been said before?” He needn’t worry. (Out now)
ESSENTIAL “A Broken Heart”
Christopher Owens performs at Paradise Rock Club on Jan. 25.