the first single from owen’s upcoming album, the king of whys, is certifiably bucolic. “lost” is firmly grounded in mike kinsella’s voice and the subtle, rhythmic strums of his acoustic guitar, with lilting pedal steel phrases peppered in for supplemental texture. it’s a logical outcome when kinsella’s minimal confessionals get paired with arrangements played by a lauded collective of eau claire session musicians; quite frankly, an entire album’s worth of material like this would be more than welcomed.
“settled down” isn’t exactly the antithesis of its predecessor, but it is maximal in comparison. a polyrhythmic drum beat, reminiscent of kinsella’s work behind the kit in their/they’re/there, anchors the track, with steadily-arpeggiated chords weaving through a fuzzed-out foundation to create a series of sweeping passages. the sparse interludes that do occur feel that much more impactful as a result; indeed, the coda is a particularly arrest respite from the dissonance that threatens to bleed through prior to its arrival. a listless song with natural disaster as a central metaphor shouldn’t be this beautiful.
the king of whys arrives july 29th via polyvinyl records. listen to “settled down” below.