Owen – The King of Whys
Mike Kinsella shares the reins of his Owen project for once, and the results are excellent – Bon Iver collaborator S. Carey’s production is detectable and delectable throughout. It’s emphatically Kinsella’s album, of course; that familiar voice remains front and centre, offering sadboy musings with grace and clarity.
At times it’s reminiscent of American Football’s emo twinkle (Lovers Come And Go; Settled Down), while elsewhere there’s a cosy alt country dressing that fits Kinsella’s reflections like a tailored glove.
It’s the intelligence and respect he affords his subject matter that really make the album so absorbing, however – A Burning Soul tells of his father’s alcoholism with neither love nor tragedy oversold (‘In his defence / He never asked to be born / He seemed content to see the world / With his eyes closed’), while the intricacies of 30something relationships are handled deftly and sensitively. Warmly mature yet never dull, this is a rare treat.