Owen Owen

Now that Joan of Arc is no more, Mike Kinsella is keeping busy with Owls (formed out of the ashes of JOA with his brother Tim), and Owen, his own project. Kinsella had some time on his hands so he began writing and recording material for himself and this record became the result of his flowing creative juices. Immediately it becomes clear that Owen is nothing like the avant-garde rock-isms of his old band. Instead, Kinsella has chosen a slower, more focused route of songwriting that exposes his natural guitar playing skill. The songs are both heart-wrenching and extremely thoughtful. His high-pitched vocals are soft and sweet, spewing the kind of sensitivity that rates high on a girl's list of qualities to look for. Even more impressive is Kinsella's gift of placing the perfect note at the suitable moment. Whether it is the ever so light feedback and backing vocals (by Caithlin de Marrais of Rainer Maria) on "You Should Do It Now While It's On Your Mind," or the infrequent use of xylophone and keyboard on "Declaration of Incompetence," Kinsella uses these delicate sounds to enhance the beauty in his songs. Showing what it takes to establish himself as a strong solo artist, Kinsella's work as Owen is just as captivating as his past efforts in his many bands. (Polyvinyl)