10 Songs, 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Welsh rocker Scott Hutchison has such a distinctive voice (ragged-edged, a tumbled-smooth center, ringing with both the optimism and regret of a new morning) that it draws a connecting line between his band Frightened Rabbit and his solo project Owl John. But, where Frightened Rabbit are all kinetic energy, Owl John is more of a billowing, surprisingly full sound built on ringing pianos and guitar notes soaring on rafts of reverb; the “f” word (“folk”) desperately wants in here, but the sheer weight of some of Owl John's songs make it a tricky proposition. “Hate Music” is towering and dark (as its title demands), “Two” is a fist-pumping stomper, and “Red Hand” is a haunting and haunted gallop through mossy, dim woods, fueled by racing acoustic guitars underpinning spindly electric ones and boulder-sized bass notes. Cloudy toms and sad piano are perfect bedfellows for the stinging self-recrimination of “Stupid Boy,” and the wrenching “Los Angeles Be Kind” could be the soundtrack for any émigré to a new city. Owl John is simply gorgeous and supremely satisfying.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Welsh rocker Scott Hutchison has such a distinctive voice (ragged-edged, a tumbled-smooth center, ringing with both the optimism and regret of a new morning) that it draws a connecting line between his band Frightened Rabbit and his solo project Owl John. But, where Frightened Rabbit are all kinetic energy, Owl John is more of a billowing, surprisingly full sound built on ringing pianos and guitar notes soaring on rafts of reverb; the “f” word (“folk”) desperately wants in here, but the sheer weight of some of Owl John's songs make it a tricky proposition. “Hate Music” is towering and dark (as its title demands), “Two” is a fist-pumping stomper, and “Red Hand” is a haunting and haunted gallop through mossy, dim woods, fueled by racing acoustic guitars underpinning spindly electric ones and boulder-sized bass notes. Cloudy toms and sad piano are perfect bedfellows for the stinging self-recrimination of “Stupid Boy,” and the wrenching “Los Angeles Be Kind” could be the soundtrack for any émigré to a new city. Owl John is simply gorgeous and supremely satisfying.

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