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For the uninitiated, here's a quickfire run-through the Owen back story - it's as relevant now as it'll ever be, I suspect. For all intents and purposes, Owen is Mike Kinsella, the Chicago musician who - along with older brother Tim and cousin Nate - is a part of the Kinsella emo dynasty that has involved bands like Joan of Arc, Cap'n Jazz and Owls, to name just a swift hat-trick. What this particular Kinsella is probably known best for, though, is fronting American Football, the weird little jazz-flecked emo trio from the Illinois college town of Champaign, who played a few shows in the late '90s, recorded one album in their last week of existence, and then split immediately afterwards, when the three members all graduated from college in one discipline or another.

I mention all of that because on the morning before I write this review, tickets for American Football's first-ever UK shows - they slowly, and with some trepidation, began the process of a reformation earlier this year - sold out in shockingly rapid fashion; part of me wonders whether the inexplicably large contingent of London-based NFL fans might have gotten the wrong end of the stick. Regardless, the point is that Kinsella has spent pretty much his entire post-American Football musical career making gorgeous records, very much in the traditional singer-songwriter vein, under the Owen handle (his wife's maiden name, by the way, just in case you were wondering if it was an oblique nod to Michael, the famed ESPN sleep assistant). It seems almost perverse, then, that the Owen album that should drop at this time of hitherto unmatched public attention should be one that's called Other People's Songs - and that does exactly what it says on the tin.

Kinsella has written songs of genuinely breathtaking beauty, but none of them make it onto this LP; it is, to put it simply, a covers record. To his credit, there's some endearing diversity on this LP; as far as obvious bets go, you can turn to his weirdly bouncy rendition of 'Forget Me' by fellow '90s emo alums The Promise Ring, or perhaps the album's opener, a simmering, smartly restrained take on Lungfish's 'Descender'.

Elsewhere, though, Kinsella isn't afraid to experiment. He breaks Depeche Mode's 'Judas' to break the Owen mould in absolutely brilliant fashion; there's abrasive acoustic guitars, a moaning string section, snatches of sweetly-delivered piano, and an achingly honest vocal floating over the top of it all. Kinsella is a master of bending the sonic composition of a song to suit his desired level of emotional heft, and his superb version of 'Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart', originally by Against Me!, is a case in point - Sarah Mitchell joins him on vocals, but it's the way in which he builds the soundscape around his voice and hers - with a real intelligence of sonic economy - that puts the seal on this surprise triumph of a record.

Kinsella has put his voice to some of the real standards of the emo genre down the years; hearing him take on the songs of others exposes us to another dimension of his talent, and perhaps that's why it doesn't, in the end, seem all that unfortunate that it's Other People's Songs that's the Owen record to come out alongside the reunion of American Football. Kinsella's intelligent reinterpretations of the works of his contemporaries seem like they might represent a nice point of entry for those ready to delve into his work as Owen; for everybody else, it'll just be enough to see a guy who routinely posts tweets like "it's Football Mania at Papa John's!" pouring his fucking heart out.

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