Sunday, July 29, 2007

Reviews:: Owen Duff A Tunnel, Closing In

UK song writer Owen Duff is an artist that can pleasantly brighten up a Sunday morning, despite the fact he is singing about the scars of love lost and pain. His new EP - A Tunnel, Closing In - is a seven-song DIY release that unlocks the sounds of an artist with the potential to be featured in soundtracks and pop up on mixes for years to come. His songs are arranged well, and he has the ability to craft a hook, he just needs the time and experience to make the jump and form his sound.

Using instrumentation not uncommon to the better work of Badly Drawn Boy, Act of War dances around your room. Starting with only a piano, Duff adds guitar, bass, xylophone and percussion (the subtle tambourine is a nice touch) to compliment his stacatto delivery. The after affects of a fight is not new territory for a solo artist, but the sounds he uses are refreshing. It's the easy standout track of the EP, because it seems so natural. The gentle rhythm floats, unlike some of the slower tracks on the EP - and that really pushes the song along. This song is the type of song that make an artist known.

The EP slows down after the first song, as the piano driven ballad This Song is a marked contrast (where the harmonies and melody make it seem a bit musical theatre), but the EP regains steam with Any Captain Worth His Due. The bass line moves and the piano tempo fits his voice nicely. Duff uses a bit more soulful approach and it's a style he would do well to employ for his future releases. His falsetto is showcased on the track, and he hits the notes so easily, you can't help but want more.

On Turbine, he adds some electronics to play the role of the backing band and swirling piano and strings try to defy the metronome beat. Vocally, he almost hits an Elliott Smith sound, but the instrumentation help him from sounding like he is trying to mimic the success of the fallen idol. To the Bay is really Duff's first sparse arrangement, and it works nicely after the weight of the middle three-songs. It feels more emotional and leads into the piano tinker of Sepulchre, which is my second favorite on the EP. Skeptics again could go the route of musical theatre, but the piano bar feel of the song makes me appreciate how easily Duff opens himself up.

For a self-produced EP, Duff delivers some ambitious songs. Most deliver (especially when he moves from a walk to a jog in pace), a few fall short, but you never question his talent. I think Duff will be a musician we will hear from again... and again. I just hope he has the patience and drive to stick with it.

MP3:: Act of War

Posted at 1:50 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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