Review Summary: An adventure down a path of pure elegance and beauty.
Mike Kinsella will never cease to amaze me. His raw talent for creating honest lyrics and complex song structures out of basic material is astounding to those who know him well. Even at the age of twelve, he was jamming with his brother and friends as Cap’n Jazz. What Mike Kinsella is most recognized for was his involvement with the legendary band known as American Football. American Football will stand as a watermark for influencing many Emo bands to come out onto the scene and drench us with honest and emotional harmony. American Footballs success may be due to the fact that no one else at the time could mimic their sound. Kinsella’s honest lyrics and complex song structures built the band’s popularity up to a cult classic standard. After the breakup of American Football, Mike Kinsella went on to a few other bands, and even started his own solo project dubbed Owen.
Owen is Mike Kinsella, and Mike Kinsella is Owen. It is unknown why Kinsella exactly named his project Owen, and it is clearly evident that the meaning of the name could derive from a childhood best friend or someone very close to Mike. With that said, all material on this album sounds like a walk down a road in the middle of a forest grove. The road of subtlety and angst Kinsella makes us follow is just wonderful. With every acoustic shard, there is a new brightly colored flower amidst the mellow green of the pine trees. Each flower lays off of each other in a new way, as well as the wildlife lavishing off of each majestic introduction to a new instrument. With harps, pianos, and intricate bass drums, the variety is just immense as it provides an atmosphere of worth wild degrees. Shooting stars litter the night sky as every harp string is plucked, and a thousand earthquakes will erupt at every bass crash. The acoustic guitar playing on this record is also something special, as no melody in this entire album is recycled. While most of the album is fingerpicked, we can tell there was a large emphasize on variety and exquisite content. The guitar paves the road before the listener, as the journey would be incomplete without a steady path to take.
Mike Kinsella’s voice and lyrics serve as the elegant rivers and lakes that you will cross on the path. The water is fresh, and sparkles with the essence of light reflecting off of the surface. Each word from his mouth is spoken with clear honesty and undeniable emotion. He bewilders the listener’s emotions with all the energy he can give into this brilliant performance. His voice is filled with angst and delicacy. The lyrics however are rather simple, but they dive into such personal territory that it’s hard for them not to surface without grace. The lyrics prove to be the oxygen in your lungs on this glorious adventure. It’s rather hard to move on, since some scenes along the path are so breathtaking that you may want to retrace your steps to reconnoiter more of each song.
There are some interesting sights to see along the beautiful road. Such as “The Sad Waltez of Pietro Crespi” which fills the listeners senses of hasty ecstasy and overall happiness. As well as the cover of “Femme Fatale” which is full of nostalgia and an incredibly catchy chorus. However, the full beauty of the album can be gazed upon in one glance in the form of “Bad News”. It’s a perfect Indie song; everything about it is just brilliant, from the angelic hums at the beginning; to the depressing opening guitar picks. The lyrics are so simple, but are drenched with emotion and honesty. The introduction of the harp in this song is one of my favorite moments in music to this day, and Kinsella’s voice plays along with each new instrument added to the mix with such ease. Without a doubt, the most beautiful sight to see along the entire path and you may never want to leave it after experiencing it.
As the journey comes to a close, you’re left to reflect upon the path you have chosen to walk through. You’re left to examine your patience for each sight to see, and examination of the speed you chose to undertake along the path may have affected your overall experience. This journey is best taken with a clear mind and a steady pace to secure all wonderful events along the road. As you leave this path, you may believe the path was the product of the heaven above you. Some may find it to be littered with junk, and the lake to be polluted by waste and trash. I see it as a road of angelic standards, and highly recommend anyone to venture beyond the gates of “At Home with Owen”.