Owensie - Distance of her love (Out on a Limb, single)
One thing I didn't expect to arrive in the post during the dark mornings and shortening evenings of October was a new bossa nova tune from an Irish singer-songwriter.
'Distance of her love' is the first single from Owensie's 2nd album, Citizens, which comes out at the end of this month. And it does indeed convey its message through the medium of bossa nova. Happily though, there's nothing tokenistic about the choice - the arrangement hangs on a comfortable array of classical guitar, murmuring saxophone, sympathetic, muted drums and Owensie's falsetto. It comes together brilliantly, all the more so because of the undertow of melancholy and loss in the lyric (a mother separated from her children, it seems through economic hardship and enforced migration) - the jaunty rhythm is particularly effective offset in this way. In fact, it tends to give the characters in the story extra depth. The best references I can find are Sam Prekop or José Gonzalez, pretty good ones in fairness.
Cut and bruised
With her mind
This strange labour of love
She remits her heart
Its a delicate art
Tired and blue
From the distance
of her love
One other wonderful touch is the vocal shadow on the word "distance", just that one word. It elevates a very good chorus into something memorable.
More on the rest of the album anon. As well as those influences mentioned above, fans of Elliot Smith will also be well served.