Owen is actually Mike, Mike Kinsella that is, whose name you may recognize thanks to his work with his brother Tim in the Midwest emo outfits
Cap'n Jazz and Joan of Arc, or from his more recent group, the more pop-oriented American Football. Kinsella's newest project, the incongruously named Owen, features him and him alone; he wrote all the music, played all the instruments, and mixed and recorded all the tracks on Owen's self-titled debut album in his home studio. On these new songs, the thoughtfulness and lilting guitar work which distinguished American Football's output remain, but gone are the old group's jazz-derived polyrhythms and occasional hard edges. Kinsella's new material has far more in common with the likes of Hayden, Lou Barlow, and East River Pipe than the Midwest indie rock typical of the Polyvinyl label (which released Owen's album). With delicately interwined guitar lines, light percussion, occasional sparse bass, some gentle synth fills, and melancholy half-whispered vocals, Kinsella weaves a soft pop cocoon around his listener. The tracks often run together with little or no interruption, helping sustain the dreamy, meditative mood. Kinsella's new musical direction is welcome, and sure to be appreciated by fans of ethereal pop and introspective singer-songwriter fare.