(Equal Vision Records)
There’s a sweeping timbre full of delicate grace riding within dear me, the debut full length on Equal Vision Records from OWEL. The record is a hour long journey full of pungent instrumentals, bursting with intelligent dynamics across the 12 songs. Even at its rather lengthy runtime, dear me plays our rather fantastically, expanding motifs to the perfect amount and telling beautiful, personal stories within each track. For a record, it plays out like a cohesive book, full of emotional details and a specific yearning that leaves people wanting more, cycling back through to find new melodies every repeated listen.
Like a dance with a partner that one never wants to end, “Pale Soft Light” taps into people’s pulse and steadies it. It’s a song that is soft and introspective with intricate vocals and infectiously soothing instrumentals. The bending guitar lead is an open door to one of the best written songs of the year. The song is after an incredible opening, swelling with “Slow” into a gorgeous motif lead by dazzling strings and high end vocals. “Pale Soft Light” is a track that blossoms throughout its seven minutes, gradually increasing the depths of the painting it creates sonically. By the five minute mark the song’s drums are pounding around the kit, rolling behind the airy vocal presence and the crashing instruments. The writing and playing is a full band effort, showcased by the textural layerings of every piece of the song.
The ability for OWEL to change their approach with every song helps dear me continue to be appealing upon every listen. There are the songs that start incredibly slow until they reach breaking point, exploding with crushing atmosphere and sucking the listener in (“I Am Not Yours”). Gigantic crescendos such as this help the songs they are featured in stick with memorable moments, sending shivers down the spine with a collective surge of energy. Their embrace is welcomed because of OWEL’s awareness of space, tension and collective unity in making accents of their music breathe. There are songs that utilize a programmed synth beat and swirl instruments around it’s foundation (“Not Today”). A song as glamorous as “Ocean Legs” takes the thesis of the record and gives it a soundtrack, orchestrated with a pensive attitude and glittery dynamics. OWEL utilize their talents to bring an unpredictable variety to their record, and it helps keep every song fresh, every story a new journey through the distinctive heartache of recollecting on one’s past; whether it be their love, mistakes or seeing the charm and beauty in a resolution.
Albums like this blare against the distorted world with such calm they become a peace in the surrounding noise. What dear me offers listeners is an escape into a realm of tranquility, being birthed from the record’s opening sway. The closing moments of the record are wrapped delicately into a vortex and named “Albert and the Hurricane;” aptly titled and done even more perfectly with the song’s spiraling motif. It’s the perfect end to a chapter of one’s life, struggle or personal triumph. The song and story behind dear me act as a reminder that there is always room and space to find serenity, even when we are sucked back out and thrown into the chaos of the world. That’s why bands like OWEL exist.