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Owel - Owel Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8
Musicianship 8
Lyrics 8
Production 8
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 8
Final Verdict: 80%
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Inside AP.net

Owel - Owel

Reviewed by: Blake Solomon (02/25/13)
OwelOwel
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: January 18, 2013

It’s sort of a wonder that any of us consume media anymore. That sounds crazy, but in ADD-merica the sheer multitude of outlets make it nearly impossible to stop on any one thing for more than a commercial break. A 2-minute Youtube video might as well be 11 hours long. And with an ornate pop album like Owel’s self-titled record, with runtimes over 6-minutes and builds that marinate longer than a brisket, how can we be expected to not only give a damn, but just give a moment?

I’ll pause while we all pop a Zoloft. But here’s the deal: let’s just hope we still harbor the gene that made us sequester ourselves in our rooms for hours at a time with just headphones and a discman. Having attachments to stuff is fun! And despite my commitment issues, I've certainly nurtured quite a relationship with Owel. The ways their songs relentlessly build to jazzy guitar grooves, angelic vocal harmonies or just straight-up wall of sound ish make for an album that needn’t hurry to get your blood rushing. One of Owel’s many standouts, “Burning House” is a true chameleon. Breathy vocals, coffee-shop guitars and swelling strings artfully disguise a climactic finale that might end up as this year’s most thoughtful headbanger. Lines like, “And I’ve tuned out any hope of some resolve…/I need the house to stay burning, for a while,” speak to one of those moments of maturation when we realize the past has to stay where it is.

This sort of build Build BUILD happens time and again without becoming stale. Because how can such drama ever feel boring? “Death in the Snow,” which features Kevin Dye of Gates, is an overwhelming bit of theatricality and “Once The Ocean” is a sparse electronic number in-line with a band like The Cinema. While this is not exactly an organic album, in that each bit feels so fine-tuned, it is certainly personal and relatable. It takes quite a bit of honesty to sing lines like, “Stay forever weary, for I’ve been quite the bastard posing sweet.” Not often do you hear dudes in this brand of music admitting so much fault. But hey, it’s another reminder that you have to dive into stuff to get all the way there.

Wherever you go on Owel, from the twee-ish “Progress” to the schizo battle-scene closing music of “Reborn,” this is a record that takes dynamics to new levels. I sometimes picture this band playing live shows as if there is an opera going on behind them. Just lots of ups, downs, action, probably blood, definitely some tears and, ultimately, resolve that reminds us things can end the right way if we keep up our determination. You simply can’t create an album with this much dichotomy and not understand that life is overwhelmingly complicated. On “Field Mouse” we hear, “I never was quite careful enough with the things that I loved / But I knew / Yes I knew it would hurt / But I never did learn from the pain.” Sometimes even what we know to be true is still unattainable. But that doesn’t always have to be the case, and if we’re willing to take the time to try and learn, the unattainable stops seeming so impossible.


Recommended If You Like: Sleeping At Last, Copeland, Gates

More Info

8.0

Tracklist:
1. Snowglobe
2. Scales
3. Burning House
4. Death in the Snow
5. Nothing’s Meant
6. Float
7. Once the Ocean
8. Unforgiving Tide
9. Progress
10. Field Mouse
11. Reborn

www.owel.bandcamp.com
www.owelmusic.com
www.facebook.com/owelmusic
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 23.
04:50 AM on 02/26/13
#2
SpyKi
This Charming Man
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Like this album, I just wish I loved the whole thing like I love the first three tracks.
05:11 AM on 02/26/13
#3
vivatoto56
Nice Try, The Devil
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Yeah this albums great, Awesome review!
05:53 AM on 02/26/13
#4
EndlessPrisoner
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aoty or close so far
06:34 AM on 02/26/13
#5
Kelly Doherty
@_kellydoherty for the lolz
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Wonderful review! Need to check this out!
07:37 AM on 02/26/13
#6
Protested Hero
Jon
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Such a great album. It took a while to sink in...but once it does.
09:10 AM on 02/26/13
#7
Clintoto
thefifties.bandcamp.com
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Burning House is so so so so good.
10:39 AM on 02/26/13
#8
syntax omitted
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Fantastic album. And anyone who likes this must check out their old EP under the name Old Nick. It's so fucking good.
11:54 AM on 02/26/13
#9
Travis Parno
my sensible heart
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Like this album, I just wish I loved the whole thing like I love the first three tracks.
agreed, big fan of the album, but other than the possible exception of "Reborn," nothing compares to the first few tracks
12:45 PM on 02/26/13
syntax omitted
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agreed, big fan of the album, but other than the possible exception of "Reborn," nothing compares to the first few tracks
Death in the Snow and Float tho
01:17 PM on 02/26/13
SpyKi
This Charming Man
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Death in the Snow and Float tho
both good, neither amazing in my opinion.
01:22 PM on 02/26/13
syntax omitted
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both good, neither amazing in my opinion.
Meh. Disagree, but to each his own. Listen to their old ep I've Seen Colors. It's fucking sprawling. Similar to Burning House and Scales, in a way. It's under the band name Old Nick.
01:28 PM on 02/26/13
...atfirstsight
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AOTY so far for me. Snowglobe, Burning House, Nothings Meant, Float, Unforgiving Tide, and Reborn were all standout tracks to me.
03:23 PM on 02/26/13
thesollopsist
Up all night, and down all day
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Very good album but I personally feel it's a little top heavy.
04:50 PM on 02/26/13
mka12992
I called in sick from your funeral
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I want to hear this album, but I don't want to buy the CD. If it were vinyl, I'd consider it, but I don't really buy CDs anymore.
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