OWEL’s latest album, Paris, genuinely caught me off-guard. I had admittedly forgotten about the band since 2014, when my old band opened up for them at some grimy bar in downtown Austin, TX, during SXSW. Back then, the band only had one album under their belt, and I was the only one in my band who even knew who OWEL was. They delivered a fantastic performance despite numerous audio issues and a rowdy crowd, but they fell off the map (for me, at least) until “I Saw Red” – the band’s latest single off of the album – popped up during one of my late-night Spotify radio sessions.
OWEL’s sound is a nostalgic mix of post-rock and symphonic elements. “Weather Report”, my favorite track on the new album, is melancholic, provoking, and gradually builds like a fever. When the impact of the song finally hits, you are enveloped by an explosion of symphonic orchestration that quickly fades back out, leaving you yearning for more of that feeling.
Closely follows is “I Saw Red”, the single I had mentioned before. While not as hard-hitting as “Weather Report”, this track delivers the tasteful symphonic orchestration and the smooth, buttery vocals that are so critical in all OWEL’s songs.
The album ebbs and flows between varying styles of songs. Despite its name, “Funeral” manages to be a very uplifting and joyous song that I could see myself dancing along to at one of OWEL’s concerts. Appropriate, as the previous song “Sonnet For Silence” is as harrowing as it is beautiful.
This album will probably make you feel things. Perhaps it will make you remember an ex-love from years ago, or a cherished friendship that you’ve recently neglected. Either way, I think that OWEL did a fantastic job creating this album. It genuinely feels like a journey from beginning to end, and I’d recommend it to anyone.
This album in its entirety gets a 4.5/5 from me.