10 Songs, 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Welsh rocker Scott Hutchison has such a distinctive voice (ragged-edged, a tumbled-smooth center, ringing with both the optimism and regret of a new morning) that it draws a connecting line between his band Frightened Rabbit and his solo project Owl John. But, where Frightened Rabbit are all kinetic energy, Owl John is more of a billowing, surprisingly full sound built on ringing pianos and guitar notes soaring on rafts of reverb; the “f” word (“folk”) desperately wants in here, but the sheer weight of some of Owl John's songs make it a tricky proposition. “Hate Music” is towering and dark (as its title demands), “Two” is a fist-pumping stomper, and “Red Hand” is a haunting and haunted gallop through mossy, dim woods, fueled by racing acoustic guitars underpinning spindly electric ones and boulder-sized bass notes. Cloudy toms and sad piano are perfect bedfellows for the stinging self-recrimination of “Stupid Boy,” and the wrenching “Los Angeles Be Kind” could be the soundtrack for any émigré to a new city. Owl John is simply gorgeous and supremely satisfying.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Welsh rocker Scott Hutchison has such a distinctive voice (ragged-edged, a tumbled-smooth center, ringing with both the optimism and regret of a new morning) that it draws a connecting line between his band Frightened Rabbit and his solo project Owl John. But, where Frightened Rabbit are all kinetic energy, Owl John is more of a billowing, surprisingly full sound built on ringing pianos and guitar notes soaring on rafts of reverb; the “f” word (“folk”) desperately wants in here, but the sheer weight of some of Owl John's songs make it a tricky proposition. “Hate Music” is towering and dark (as its title demands), “Two” is a fist-pumping stomper, and “Red Hand” is a haunting and haunted gallop through mossy, dim woods, fueled by racing acoustic guitars underpinning spindly electric ones and boulder-sized bass notes. Cloudy toms and sad piano are perfect bedfellows for the stinging self-recrimination of “Stupid Boy,” and the wrenching “Los Angeles Be Kind” could be the soundtrack for any émigré to a new city. Owl John is simply gorgeous and supremely satisfying.

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About Owl John

Owl John was the solo vehicle of Scott Hutchison, known primarily as the lead singer and songwriter of Scottish indie rock outfit Frightened Rabbit. Following the critical success of his band's fourth album, Pedestrian Verse, in 2013, Hutchison set about creatively exploring his musical repertoire before starting work on material for a fifth Frightened Rabbit album, while the other members took a break from the group. With an ambitious plan to record an entire album in two weeks, Hutchison decamped to the remote pastures of Scotland's Isle of Mull and also the West Coast of America with bandmate Andy Monaghan and good friend Simon Liddell of Olympic Swimmers, who both helped produce and perform the songs. Although sharing similarities with Frightened Rabbit, the project displayed Hutchison's prolific songwriting talents with a mixture of atmospheric electronics and gritty rock on Owl John's debut self-titled album, which appeared in 2014. Sadly, in May 2018, Hutchison was found dead in an area near Queensferry, Scotland. ~ Scott Kerr

ORIGIN
Glasgow, Scotland
FORMED
2013

Songs

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