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Blunt Objects - Shady Shadows

Bill Owens aka Blunt Objects is a life long artist who got pulled into the art form when he saw The Beatles when he was ten years old. Owens would go on to be discover groups like the Kinks, Zombies, Move, Pretty Things, Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt, Syd Barrett, David Bowie, Arcade Fire and many more. Owens states “my writing these days is based more on self-reflection, aging, and observing the current state of things.”

His recent release Shady Shadows is an album that bursts with vibrant instrumentation and heartfelt vocals. I loved this juxtaposition. The first song is entitled “My Best Friend” and the music is full of synths, percussion and more. Even without the vocals this would be great. The vocals however are the heart of the song and I found myself being emotionally connected to them. There’s a sadness to the vocal delivery but it works so well. Owens sings “So now I’m left just standing here with nothing but my name, again / Been through this before /And it always feels the same / Maybe this will someday be my only claim to fame?” Owens seamlessly transitions to “I'm Going to Hell” and this song is also fantastic. It’s a maximalist song but somehow never feels too busy. The juxtaposition between the tone of the vocals and the music is quite striking. “Uphill Climb” sounds very much like the title of the song. Synths come at you from all angles and the sound design is very smooth. There’s a little more space in the song for the vocals and Owens does it again. The difference in emotion between the vocals and music at points contrasts in unique ways which allow him to explore different shades of emotion. “Picturesque Decay” shimmers and floats on a soundscape of percussion, pads and other elements. The vocals are catchy but again deep and melancholy. Owens sings “And it's a seasick Sunday morning for the boy / Locked myself inside so they couldn't break down the door / It’s such a mad day, I can't take it anymore / Knock it all down, shoot it all up, blow it all away.” I was actually reminded of Joy Division on “Time.” This is song which while still exploring any shades of emotion feels introspective and cerebral. “She's Going Away” was interesting. In a stripped back form. I could imagine this being a pop song but the shoegaze approach gives it a very different feel. I was reminded of Bowie on this song in some ways. “Where do You Go?” is quite beautiful flirting with existential themes while “Need to Be” is another song that reminded me of Ziggy Stardust Bowie era. I loved the last song “Falling Apart.” Owen’s vocals sound fantastic with many emotions in there like hope, nostalgia and melancholy. I loved this album. Owens avoids pretense here and makes songs that reflect on big ideas without feeling grandiose. He sounds like a man who is trying to come to terms with his place in the universe. That’s something I think everyone can relate to. Highly recommended. SPOTIFY

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