As 2019 ends and we move into a new year it was with much excitement that I grabbed a cd from my haul of things to review but without knowing it I had a small pile of albums from last year that had somehow fallen by the by so the first album of the year is one of the last albums of last year. Confusing? A little. But listening to an album that was meant for an October 2019 isn’t such a terrible thing.
Hampshire based singer songwriter Owen Tromans has put together an album that, according to the PR sheet that accompany these releases, words such as megaliths, epic, fantastical, undulating, mythological and legendary appear, all pretty big words to describe an album that, at it’s core is a folk album but beneath the surface lies an element of indie rock and classical.
Actually, the album is put together like an album plus a bit more. Tracks one to eight sit together very nicely, a coherent mix of songs that feel connected and are bookended by ‘Danebury Rumination’, a gentle instrumental that invites the listener into this summery, calm, relaxed soundscape and ‘Danebury Reprise’ which comes as a fitting end. But then there is the ‘bit more’, ‘Grimcross’ and ‘Electric Wessex’ that, although not a million miles away from the overall feel of track one to eight, they feel like the next step, a taster of things to come in the next album.
I would say I enjoyed ‘Grimcross’ the most, it has a dramatic feel and finally does something the previous tracks don’t, which is break free of the confides of folk and spread its wings. Occasionally the music feels like it’s being held back, like a pacing animal that can see the pasture but is afraid to take that step, tracks nine and ten do this.
Overall I liked this album, it suited my dark drive into work and there is enough going on within the album to keep you interested, you can hear a Radiohead influence on certain tracks, especially where the acoustic guitar is the driving force of the song, but there is a macabre centre here and there, on ‘Martin Pale’s Ghost’ and ‘Grimcross’ in particular.
It’s an album for lovers of folk and lovers of folk that wants to push the boundary, to push the subject matter and to see where this new direction takes us.