Owel – Owel
Listening to the debut LP from New York/New Jersey quintet Owel requires a lot of attention. Not because it’s somehow boring and trite, but because the composition this band engages in is so well thought out, it deserves more of your open mind than simply hopping in your car pressing play.
I wouldn’t be surprised if these chaps admitted worshiping at the altar of Sigur Ros, as every band of this sort should admit to. The feel from this self-titled masterpiece is at times what you might expect if the band had produced more polished recordings, while scaling down on the vast amount of instrumentation. The wet production throughout the album is at times ambient and relaxing. At other times it’s heavy enough to get your head moving and tapping your feet to the beat.
Owel prove their capacity for compositional diversity by being able to make every song sound unique and interesting. Songs such as “Death in the Snow” and “Unforgiving Tide” remind me of Æon Spoke, especially vocally. I’m quickly able to compare the sound of his voice to Paul Masvidal, although a bit more focused, and dare I say a bit more romantic. Though when he cuts into his falsetto, especially harmony sections that are layered, it shifts right back into that Jonsi feel. It’s dynamic in a way that works for me, and sells me every single time. Going into other tracks such as “Nothing’s Meant” and “Progress” made me feel like I was listening to a new product advertisement from Apple. Bands like this ideally should be attuned well enough to deliver material that can be consigned to big brands like that, so that’s a positive, albeit weird thing to commend on this record.
While Owel play a type of music that I don’t particularly fancy on a day-to-day basis, this is sort of material that tends to melt the heart of even the most diehard pessimist, and hit that inner chamber that needs to mellow out and smile a little bit. Every debut album should be as well configured and solid as the one delivered from Owel.