Owen Tromans came to prominence as leader of indie rockers San Lorenzo, but he's been very prolific of late too, releasing a succession of fine solo records. On Golden Margins, two years back, he enlisted the help both of regular collaborator Joe Bennett and former band-mates The Elders, but for his latest venture, Winter Songs, he revisits his long-term preoccupation with that season in a series of new songs which reflect on, and embody stories about, its special ambience.
Aside from the EPs' opener The Neighbourhood Watch, this is a fairly stripped-down set, whose limited palette really brings the songs to life. Child Winter is a distinctly chilling, rather disturbing Winterreise inspired by an inscription Owen discovered inside an old Angus Maclise broadside, whereas Incredible Weapons provides a tribute to that band, a project of Danny Gee (another long-term Tromans collaborator).
Bonaparte In The Eighties is a downbeat morality tale, and finally the (spoken) delivery of EP closer Crown gives a further instance of Owen's gift for making something special out of ostensibly mundane suburban surroundings and happenings. As you will hear, though, Owen's long-standing affection for the wintry season is not the only appealing quality to his lo-fi acoustic poetry here.
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