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Owen Franklin - Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist

  by Kelly Smith

published: 9 / 6 / 2011

Owen Franklin - Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist
Label: Owen Franklin
Format: CD


Unpolished, yet highly promising second album from 19 year old Manchester-based singer-songwriter, Owen Franklin

Here’s something ridiculous about this album. I keep setting it to track one, starting to write about it, and the next time I’ve checked it’s at track 11 and I’m sitting here wondering why it seems to have only lasted about 7 minutes. Be warned – this is a fast album. It’s not so fast that you can’t tell of a shift in tracks, but it does blend extremely well. Owen Franklin, a 19 year old singer, musician and songwriter, is clearly gifted in all of these areas. Heavily inspired by poet Lord Byron, and containing nods to Dylan and Springsteen, 'Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist' is Owen’s second album release after an initial demo last year. One of my favourite tracks, 'She Walks in Beauty', is an upbeat (Owen describes this as one of the ‘rockier’ tracks in the album notes – I’m not sure I’d go that far. It’s as rocky as Coldplay would ever get, I suppose) track, largely reliant on a piano underbelly. It’s lovely, but it doesn’t quite suit Owen’s voice in the way I would like it to. I want to like it more than I do, and although it’s one of the best tracks here I fear it may just be an experiment for Owen, who is clearly still trying to find his style. I find 'The Tempest (Part One)' hauntingly beautiful in parts, and I actively look forward to part two. If anything, it is slightly over-long, but this sort of tightening and perfecting will come with experience. I’d love to hear him explore more of this soft, acoustic side to his music with his next work. Owen has a rare talent of being able to strike a chord (a literal chord) in just the right beautiful tone, and it can be absolutely gorgeous. Imagine this track as your summer chill-out tune, playing from inside the house as you sit out in your garden (or on your tiny piece of shared decking if you’re like me and living in a flat). The first single 'The Not-So-Great Gatsby' is a quirky indie pop tale, which is lyrically sound but needs some polishing, for want of a better word. This, however, is a criticism to be levelled at the rest of the album. It is very raw, and when you’re listening to it you could be six feet away from him in a pub, or more appropriately a sixth form common room. It feels like the sort of thing which could do well as a backing track on a teen comedy – if they ever do a late night 'Hollyoaks'/'Inbetweeners' crossover, this album will be the soundtrack. Owen’s right – this is a portrait of a young man. I cannot wait until that young man grows and learns and develops into a slightly older man. The resulting work has the potential to be wonderful.

Track Listing:-
1 The Lovers & the Losers
2 She Walks In Beauty
3 Teetotal
4 The Tempest, Pt. 1
5 Misanthropic Blues
6 Halfway House to Hell
7 A Celebration of Songwriting
8 The Only Thing Left to Do
9 The Not-So-Great Gatsby
10 Last Orders
11 That's What Friends Are For

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digital downloads



The Film Noir EP (2011)
Impressive EP of frequently hilarious confessional rock from Manchester-based singer-songwriter and musician, Owen Franklin
The Not-So-Great Gatsby (2011)

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