Saturday, 11 February 2012

Review: Dean Owens

Dean Owens - New York Hummingbird (Songboy Records)
Made with assistance from various musical folk from New York, Dean Owens new album, with its indie pop / alt country vibe doesn't hang around waiting to be heard. It's crisply produced, neatly put together, and races appealingly out of traps. So, no slow start, no hesitancy and no apparent doubts - I would suggest that when Owens went into the studios he knew exactly which direction he was heading, and what he wanted to achieve before he set off. He may have had a lot of help from some fine musicians (and producers), but it was still his show from beginning to end.

The press release mentions the 70s and 80s, together with UK bands like The The and Aztec Camera. Personally, I don't see the connection, as I find Owens’ style far more reminiscent of American singer-songwriters like Josh Rouse and Jesse Malin. In fact, if you burrow down deep into his music, bury yourself amongst the gentle but solid production, and the lilting melodies, you’ll eventually get to Ryan Adams; though a quieter and more relaxed version. Let the music wash around and over you, until you get to "Snowglobe", "Solo (Valentine NYC"), and "Wander On" and you’ll hear the connection. With only the title track left after this trilogy, you may have noticed that the music gradually gets more emphatic as the album progresses. Dean Owens starts strong, and gets stronger. All self-penned (except for "Wander On", credited to producer Dave Derby), this last ballad goes right to the heart of things, from his love of, well, everything, really. This album isn’t just about New York, it’s about life itself. Owens’ music will help you live it.
Kev A.

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