Owel
Paris


4.5
superb

Review

by Mathias USER (9 Reviews)
April 4th, 2019 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Orchestral rock with a penchant for beauty.

“The sum is greater than the whole of its parts.” This phrase is often used to describe an experience. It means taking the good with the bad, maybe the underwhelming parts of an experience, but looking at them in the context of a greater scheme. Songs in an album may sound horrible out of context, but put them with their partners and suddenly they can become a masterpiece. With Paris, Owel have done the opposite—the whole is great because each of its individual parts is great in its own right.

Owel have a clearly defined instrumental style. An alternative rock band with post-rock tendencies that incorporate full, lush orchestral soundscapes and have a generous use of electronic components. The sound scapes that they create are absolutely gorgeous. The strings aren’t included as an afterthought or a gimmick; they are at the forefront of what makes Owel’s sound what it is. Gorgeous piano suites are found throughout, often accentuated by electronic sounds. Traditional rock instruments are found throughout the album as well, but never at the forefront, simply as another cog in the atmosphere created. Add Jay Sakong’s dreamy vocals and powerful falsetto and there is pure atmospheric bliss.

As an album itself Paris has a consistent sound, but it’s difficult to typify it to a consistent genre. As mentioned before, alternative rock with post-rock tendencies is what is found most often. Utilizing this style is also when the band is at its best. Opening track “Weather Report” slowly builds until it immerses the listener in a wall of sound, “Get Out Stay Out” runs six and a half minutes and has a structure that emulates Sigur Ros, with the added benefits of Sakong’s powerful vocals. “Roma White” and “Jumble Gem”, the undoubted highlights of the album, showcase the bands blending of it sounds at their peak. “Roma White” allows each instrument to have a section where they’re highlighted, all while still working perfectly in tandem, with Sakong’s voice serving as its own instrument. “Jumble Gem” instrumentally is absolutely cacophonous, with the closing two minutes finding strings, pianos, voice, synth, percussion, and guitar all building into each other to create a sound that is somehow tense, lovely, and cathartic all at the same time.

With that said, there is quite a bit of genre dipping, which each one being successful. “I Saw Red” dips into dream pop territory, “No Parachutes” and “Funeral” are upbeat lush rockers, and “Didn’t I” wouldn’t sound out of a place as an experimental ballad on a pop-punk album, with a strong focus on the chorus. The most successful, and most out there, of these tracks is “Being Human is Weird”. The strings take a supporting role on this song, with guitar and drums being at the forefront, almost sound like a straightforward rock song. That is until a light electronic breakdown happens with Sakong singing “And wow everybody’s talking/But no one’s saying a damn thing”. What appears to be one of the most straightforward songs on the album takes some of the biggest risks, which pay off in a large way.

For the dreamy environment they create, the lyrics that Owel use are fairly simple. A balance between metaphor and straight forward imagery means that there are no life changing lyrics, with the words almost seeming to serve as part of the sound as anything else. However, this simplicity lends itself to some breathtaking lines, such as in “Weather Report”, which describes a person unfazed by the disasters looming in our world.

But seeing you dance in the smoke
Waving your arms like a beautiful idiot
Makes me believe in the hopes of a day
I'd join you


Overall, Owel creates a beautiful and unique sound on Paris. Even with the slight inconsistency of styles found across the album, the noise they create blends into a highly consistent album. Each song is as strong as the one before it and the one after it, meaning the listener will never leave the immersiveness of its beauty.



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user ratings (20)
Chart.
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
dmathias52
April 4th 2019


260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Absolutely blown away by this!



White Roma: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM-2M6HO0Qg



Any feedback on the review would be much appreciated! Wrote it up fairly quickly to get word out on this album, so I apologize for any strange typos or confusing sentences.

Digging: Kayak Jones - You Swear It's Getting Better Every Day

hogan900
April 4th 2019


2934 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

YES so glad someone covered this, it’s a beaut. Will read tomorrow morning!

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
April 4th 2019


8937 Comments


Good review! It made this sound interesting enough for me to check out, but those vocals are just not for me.

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
April 4th 2019


8937 Comments


Also you should probably replace this sentence "With [ i ]Paris[ i / ], Owel have done the opposite - The whole is great because each of its individual parts is great in its own right." with this:

"With [ i ]Paris[ / i ], Owel have done the opposite—the whole is great because each of its individual parts is great in its own right.

dmathias52
April 4th 2019


260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Appreciate that! Always scan so hard for those little code things and normally one slips through like that!



Glad that other people are checking this out! Totally get it the vocals aren’t for you, I always forget the fact that other people can find that tenor grating.

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
April 4th 2019


8937 Comments


Ha! Yeah they're the bane of my existence too. :]

Brinner
April 5th 2019


16 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review for an album that's really growing on me.

dmathias52
April 5th 2019


260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah this is definitely a grower! It hooked me on my first listen, but I love it more and more every time I come back to it. This review started out as a 4, but as I was listening to it while writing it Jumble Gem really hit me, so I had to bump it.

CaptainDooRight
April 5th 2019


2828 Comments


interesting

Digging: Mekong Delta - Kaleidoscope

dmathias52
April 5th 2019


260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@CaptainDooRight Not sure how much you’d enjoy this looking at your ratings, but the post rock stuff could interest you! But yeah not as heavy as seems to be your style lol

dmathias52
April 5th 2019


260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Is it in bad taste to bump your own review? Because I really want more people to hear this.

CaptainDooRight
April 5th 2019


2828 Comments


I listen to and greatly enjoy plenty of non-heavy stuff. I heard a few moments off this that I enjoyed. I plan to make some time to give a more detailed listen.

DANcore
April 5th 2019


365 Comments


These guys fle waaay under the radar in 16. This new one better?

dmathias52
April 5th 2019


260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@DooRight: That’s awesome! I could definitely tell you have a wide taste - I super respect that. Interested to hear your thoughts!



@DANcore: I personally enjoy this one more, but I think they’re both great. This one fully embraces the orchestral elements, I feel like the last one was more synth driven.

GreyShadow
April 5th 2019


3005 Comments


Dear Me is probably still their best but this is fantastic

hogan900
April 6th 2019


2934 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

And I saw the look in your eyes

As the tide came to take you

You loved it

I love the lyrics on this thing so much

ProjectFreak
April 6th 2019


3547 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5



I loved the band's first LP (seriously it's a perfect winter album) but fell off the wagon.... Time to catch up it seems! Great review, pos

dmathias52
April 6th 2019


260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@GreyShadow I love them both, but think I might slightly prefer this. I’m a sucker for those strings!

@hogan: The lyrics do their job so perfectly. Simply beautiful.

@Freak: Appreciate it! There’s definitely more a warmness to some tracks here. I think early Spring is a good time for this one!

Ponton
Staff Reviewer
April 6th 2019


6736 Comments


Very cool man. I checked out their last album and wasn't a fan, so im probably going to side step this one. Props on the Weaver at the Loom rec though.

Digging: Grizzly Bear - Shields

dmathias52
April 6th 2019


260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks Ponton! If it’s the vocals or style you’re not into, this one might not be your cup of tea, but I feel instrumentally they’ve changed a decent amount. And yes on Weaver at the Loom! Incredibly underrated band.



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