Review: Owen

“The EP”
(Polyvinyl Record Co.)

Owen is not actually Owen. Owen is actually indie darling Mike Kinsella. Kinsella is well known in the quiet side of the indie world. He has been a part of Cap N’ Jazz, Joan of Arc, Owls and American Football. Owen picks up where American Football left off. Kinsella has full control and creates almost every piece of sound heard on the album. His musical stylings are the equivalent of a warm glass of milk, soothing from start to finish (or so I’ve heard. Who really drinks warm milk?)

The airy mellowness of American Football is quadrupled with Owen. Imagine an unplugged version of American Football. The lyrics swirl around a feeling of longing that can never be filled. No matter how happy anyone is they will always miss that one person they pushed away, even if they needed to be pushed. Every song will always be about the person the song shouldn’t be about. With curl-up-in-the-fetal-position-lyrics like “I thought I’d be singing a different tune by now, but the song about you keeps coming out…I’d hoped to be singing to someone new by now, but this song’s about you” and “Skin and bones and blood and teeth. This is essentially who we are. Hair and clothes and the company we keep. This is essentially who we are to others,” the album has a universal feel. Everyone has been where Kinsella is coming from. Everyone will be there again. The gentle guitar, vibraphone, cello and violin act like a pillow for your head.

This is sleepy time music, which isn’t a bad thing. Some bands are impossible to unwind or fall asleep too; Owen goes out of its way to be that band. Any fan of American Football or even Elliott Smith, Death Cab for Cutie and Rilo Kiley will feel right at home with Owen. The only puzzle left from Kinsella is why the name Owen? I have a theory and I am pretty sure it’s correct. It must be named after the 19th century anatomist Richard Owen. He gave Darwin a run for his money. Yeah, Richard Owen was the shit back in the day.