No solo acoustic angst for this frontman's side project (been there, done that, as part of the day job). Although every song on this rather magnificent album comes recognisably from inside the head of Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchison (the stirring choruses alone are proof of that), they're different too.
They certainly can't be considered rejects from Frabbits' Pedestrian Verse tracklist, as the Owl John set has a conception, a sound, a style of its own. Cold Creeps opens with a heavily fuzzed guitar and massive drum resonance; Hate Music slunks around, peddling dirty slacker blues; Los Angeles Be Kind motors down a harmonically-layered slow lane; Songs About Roses sets two guitars - sharp twang and gentle shimmer - against each other and a vocal that's as isolated as James Graham in The Twilight Sad.
In other words, Owl John is Frightened Rabbit reimagined as an alt-rock rather than indie-folk band, with songs (especially Red Hand) as airwaves-friendly as anything Hutchison has done. If this is the reward he got for securing Atlantic a top 10 hit with Pedestrian Verse, we're all winners.
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