Review Summary: The humbling sound of humanity
Over the last decade there hasn't been anyone who has created music so depressingly beautiful and honest as Mike Kinsella has under the Owen moniker. His albums, such as 2006's wondrously crafted At Home With Owen
, have always been an intricate amalgam of delicate guitar work and tactful platitudes that warm the hearth of the soul like coming home to a cup of chai in the dead of winter. Sometimes he can come across as a tad too self loathing – see New Leaves
– but even then, Mike Kinsella's always direct delivery and nimble picking manage to keep his songs floating high above the waterline at all times. Ghost Town
, Kinsella's 6th album in 10 years, is everything an Owen fan could want. It is a document of the inner workings of a man, splayed open and dissected down to the bone all while his heart is still beating, pushing every thought and every breath through stereo speakers. Whether it is his relationship, or lack there of, with the concept of god, his sincerest wishes for his daughter's future, or even the ups and downs of his marriage, nothing is off limits. The humble presentation of his songs showcase this. They are an emotionally rich dialogue that is so easy to relate to, it's hard not to get lost in his sentiments.
It is amazing how Mike Kinsella has been able to deliver such brutal honesty by way of an acoustic guitar for so long without ever once sounding contrived or trite. In an age when wannabe troubadours and makeshift singer songwriters everywhere can pump out their thoughts on love and loss or on how the world has fuc
ked them and share them with an eager audience with just a few clicks of a button, songsmiths such as Kinsella are a welcome reminder that while almost anyone can pick up a guitar and sing, the words mean so much more when they come from experience.