Owen - L'Ami du Peuple (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
MIKE Kinsella, aka Owen in solo guise, releases his first album since 2011′s Ghost Town in the form of L’Ami du Peuple but struggles to impress.
Anyone vaguely familiar with Kinsella’s musical lineage (Cap’n Jazz, American Football, Owls) will know that he’s nothing if not diverse. But while this marks yet another departure in terms of the way it was conceived and put together, the album struggles to really catch fire.
Sure, there’s some interesting instrumental arrangements and the use of added female vocals give rise to some nice moments. But aside from a couple of tracks that capture the attention, the album is largely forgettable.
It would be remiss of me, however, not to pick out those highlights. Where Do I Begin?, with its ragtime piano melody and boy-girl vocal chorus, is nicely delivered and thought-provoking.
While Bad Blood marks the sound of the LP at its most robust and alive, a track propelled by a quasi-country stomp that explodes halfway through with an electric guitar solo before dovetailing into a closing crescendo.
Lyrically, the song finds Kinsella lamenting his pedigree (“bad blood, Hereditary law you can’t run away from, trust me, I’ve tried”) and, again, giving plenty to think about.
But while tracks like Vivid Dreams (with its intricate guitar licks and piano arrangements) and I Got High (with its electronic blips) contain nice elements, they often struggle to grip as a complete whole.
The result is an album that for all its creative endeavour on the part of Kinsella largely underwhelms.
Download picks: Bad Blood, Where Do I Begin?