Emo Hero Mike Kinsella Shows Off His Range on Owen's 'The Avalanche'

BY Daniel SylvesterPublished Jun 16, 2020

From beginning his 31-year career playing drums with emo pioneers Cap'n Jazz through to his current stint as vocalist/guitarist for cult favourites American Football, there hasn't been a project that Mike Kinsella has put more blood, sweat and tears into than Owen. Since 2001, the Chicago musician has released 10 studio LPs under the moniker, while allowing himself to stretch his craft out sonically and thematically.

With Bon Iver drummer S. Carey once again helming the boards, The Avalanche matches 2016's The King of Whys as Kinsella's most opulent sounding release. Opener "A New Muse" and mid-album highlight "Mom and Dad" find Mike bringing KC Dalager from Minnesota indie rock duo Now, Now into the mix to contribute backing vocals, while "I Should Have Known" adds palpitating strings, stylish piano and trumpet to create a woven tapestry of sound.

Although Kinsella still writes dense math rockers ("On with the Show") alongside uncomplicated acoustic ditties ("Headphoned"), The Avalanche seems to meld together into slosh of uniform sound, leaving the listener with an album that is emotionally thrilling even when it is tactilely urbane.

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