From the opening hand claps of “Catfish Dave”, an acapella-style campfire song, to the closing bluegrass themed banjo picks of “Abundance”, Owoso’s new album “Catfish” takes you on a 49 minute musical journey through multiple genres and ties them all together with a wide variety of instrumentation choices and vocals reminiscent of a Gary Lightbody or Taylor Goldsmith.
After the acapella “Catfish Dave” we get to the indie-prog inspired “Hypotenuse”. This song starts off with a lone acoustic guitar and then layers on the full force of their instrumentation before we head into a shoegaze-inspired bridge full of distorted guitars and indie-style ambient vocals. At just over eight and a half minutes, “Hypotenuse” serves as a microcosm for the album as a whole the way it flows seamlessly through these various themes and genres.
On “Facebook II” we are introduced to a heavy use of the banjo that recurs throughout the rest of the album and calls to mind the band’s Kentucky roots, especially as we delve even deeper into the bluegrass influence with the use of the violin and cello in “Swansons Broth Got Wrung from Dampened Cloth/Lemon”. In between those tracks, “Catfish (Behold the Master Plan)” makes use of a beautiful blend of filters that give the guitars and vocals a strong underwater sound to tie in with the catfish theme.
“Be Yourself” presents itself as another folk influenced song through the verse but quickly turns into a more indie-rock themed chorus as the drums and distortion pedals kick in. By the end of the song we are treated to a full on 70’s rock sound with a shredding guitar solo. The 70’s influence continues on through the following track, “Inside Playdoh”, a song that calls to mind some of the more folk sounding Led Zeppelin songs.
“Facebook I” briefly brings the album back to a more mellow mood with soft acoustic guitar and a calming verse before it begins to build up into its big moment after the second chorus and the full drum set is unleashed to accompany some fantastic distorted guitar work that blends perfectly with the vocals.
From here the album delves into the big band sound of “Tinka”. A bright, driving piano melody and lyrics like “time is my only opponent’’ will have you singing along in no time. This track brings to mind bands such as New Radicals as the wind instruments are incorporated to their full potential during the most upbeat song of the album.
“Dirt Mound” dials it back down a notch to a more mellow folk-rock vibe before we close out the album in true Kentucky fashion with the bluegrass influenced “Abundance”. The banjo, strings, and tambourine featured in this track will have you reflecting on what a wonderful musical journey Owoso just took you on.
–Aaron Minnich, sluggercitysound.com