As Mike Kinsella's sixth album under his solo pseudonym Owen, Ghost Town is a record that comes replete with layers of instrumentation, as well as tiers of contexts and meaning, each just waiting to be peeled back and explored. And as a 10-year project in the making, Owen and its newest full-length Ghost Town appear to see Kinsella – and indeed his elusive, dual persona of Owen – exactly where he should be.

As an album written in the wake of his firstborn’s birth, it isn’t surprising that Ghost Town is a record scattered with homely and childlike references. This is a record with a strong theme running throughout, not only of new life, but also of death. This sense of the macabre, and indeed the album’s eponymous ghostliness, sees Kinsella lyrically battle against the tempestuous relationship that he had with his late father. Lines such as "Ghosts that don’t know they’re dead" are complimented with vividly painted pictures as demonstrated through, "I’m not coming home until these demons get bored / In mirrored eyes I see kerosene / And you’ve got my matches" on 'Too Many Moons'.

As ever, these portraits are contrasted with Kinsella’s down-to-earth, colloquial narratives and language, such as: "I guess I’m still angry/ Still punching walls that look like you/ Drop-kicked an old lady," on 'No Language' and his beautifully intoned rhyming couplets, like: "Dropping excuses like dead skin/ Ignoring bruises like children." Amongst Kinsella’s typical narrative-style lyrics are surprising expletives, particularly unexpected during moments such as, "Fuck you and your front lawn / I’d rather die with my front hands tied" on 'There’s No Place Like Home', adding a sense of surprise amongst the otherwise peaceful track. As much of the album was recorded during Cap N’ Jazz’s 2010 reunion tour, some of Kinsella’s loudest moments as Owen to date rear their head, continuing the record’s unexpected nature.

As well as life and death, religion also plays a strong role in the album’s contextual output, as demonstrated on 'An Animal': "Maybe God will save my soul but in this world I'm an animal with clothes on/ An animal with needs." The more obviously titled  'I Believe' continues this theme, proclaiming, "I believe there is no white light, somebody's mistaken or somebody lied," while choral touches add contrast with its rare use of external vocal input. Yet Kinsella also turns his subject on its head, as he takes a step back from traditional religious imagery to unveil the words, "I just found Jesus / Swimming at the bottom of the bottle I keep crawling out of."

Comprised of Kinsella’s complex acoustic finger-picking, Ghost Town is rendered fully-fleshed alongside the addition of soft melodies and a mix and quiet and loud percussion, as after each and every listen its intricacies and lyrics progressively manifest themselves. Ghost Town marks the transition over the years from the sparse, acoustic offerings of his self-titled debut album, through to the more string-laden present such as 2009’s New Leaves and At Home With Owen, making it more akin to the likes of his previous band-based project American Football. Yet far from being full-band, Ghost Town is very much the solo project you’d expect. All instrumentation is Kinsella’s own: it is his own detailed guitar work that gently picks its way beneath his inimitably raw and slightly abrasive trademark vocals, alongside the backing of faint feedback, ambling xylophones and steady drumming.

Ultimately, the album is everything you’d imagine from a record titled Ghost Town: it’s magnificently haunting, sparse, yet surprising and painfully personal to its author. While it is a record scattered with a darkness that hints at the sinister, Kinsella still retains his rawness and unfaltering fluidity that has kept fans captivated by Owen since the project’s very beginnings, while creating an album that allows his listeners to get lost in its simplicity, or delve a little deeper and face their own internal demons along the way.