Owl John is the alias of Scott Hutchison, the songwriter, vocalist and all-round principle guy for Scottish indie rock band Frightened Rabbit. On his first solo record, he enlisted help from bandmate Andy Monaghan and friend Simon Liddel (Olympic Swimmers) in the production department, splitting his time between the Isle of Mull and the States in equal measure. Hutchsion sees the record as warm-up and inspiration for his band's next record. 

Vinyl LP £14.49 0825646241019

LP on Atlantic by Frightened Rabbit fellow.

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CD £11.49 0825646241286

CD on Atlantic by Frightened Rabbit fellow.

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Owl John by Owl John
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7/10 ReviewBot3000 31 July 2014
Frightened Rabbit main-man Scott Hutchison drops his first solo album (of sorts) this week with his solo-ish Owl John project, with bandmate Andy Monaghan and Olympic Swimmer Simon Liddell earning co-songwriting credits for the music, which details Hutchison's plans to create public lavatories for local bird life. Okay, I made that last bit up.
My hope was that this collection would be much more sparse, delicate and intimate than his better-known band (big stars stateside, so I hear) but to my slight disappointment it's a very similar kind of sweeping aesthetic happening here. When he does take things down to just a fingerpicked, reverby guitar, voice and subtle atmospherics, eventually giving way to robotic synth throbs and heartstring-tugging piano, on 'Ten Tons of Silence' it's certainly a highlight, and in a way this album seems like a missed opportunity to explore his relationship with said silence.

It's pretty and workmanlike and he's certainly not embarrassing himself, but most of the material here is fairly formulaic FR/Stornoway-ish Scotpop that doesn't really scale the heights of Hutchison's most famous project, but doesn't strip enough away from their aesthetic set itself apart as a particularly exciting project in its own right. To be fair to the lad though, it's apparently "warm up and inspiration" for the next FR effort so I shouldn't really hold the similarities against him.


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