Review: Owen – Ghost Town

Polyvinyl Records

Released: Monday 21 November 2011

Comparisons with Iron & Wine are false. It’s clear where the idea may have come from but Mike Kinsella – formerly of American Football – has a much more straight-forward, conversational style. That’s not to say he talks or raps. He does sing, but he is very matter of fact. On this, Owens sixth solo album, he is clearly comfortable with what he is doing. Melody stirs differently with confidence in each of his sentences.

Ghost Town is an exploration of inadequacies and a sorting out of thoughts. Opener ‘Too Many Moons’ explains that he is “but one man”, while ‘No Place Like Home’ calmly explores conflict: “Soon there will be a fight, and we’ll all have to take sides, like kids on a playground.”

 The understated guitars are where you’ll find invented links to other artists, critics gagging for a match. But in fact, although there is no real standout use of instruments, there is a uniqueness to the format of the songs. Each song has a different accompanying instrument. Whether it’s the violins, piano, or a tumbling xylophone, everyone has a different sounding friend to dance with.

This is a sleepy album, but as the title might suggest, that’s alright by Mike. ‘Everyone’s Asleep in the House But Me’ is very simple song, but poetic in it’s description of the dreams and sleep of others. One problem Ghost Town has is its lack of pace. It is very niche and sticks closely to the open thoughts of Mike Kinsella, rolling out as slow as the strum of the chords.

Need a comforting night-time album, but don’t want to be depressed? This is it. Want to get pumped up for a night out? Look elsewhere.

(Photo by frailamerica)

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