The last Owen album, 2016’s The King of Whys showed up just a few months before American Football (LP2), the first new music in over 15 years from the recently reunited group. Kinsella took a relatively relaxed approach to his solo project in that time, playing rare occasional shows when American Football’s rigorous touring schedule allowed.
After several busy years working within the collaborative framework of a band, Kinsella was more than ready for the complete creative control a new Owen record offered. He reunited with producer Sean Carey (Bon Iver, Peter Gabriel) and engineer Zach Hanson (The Tallest Man On Earth, Waxahatchee) and decamped to snow-covered Hive Studio in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, just far enough away from the routines and distractions of daily life to really focus on the process.
The Avalanche takes on a new refinement, with spacious musical landscapes making room for devastating lyrics that return to themes of an unravelling marriage and big endings. On previous albums, sarcasm and wry humour would dull the sting of heavier lyrics. Here there are still traces of Kinsella’s trademark humour, but instead of offering a winking dismissal of negative thoughts, it takes the songs to even darker places. Easily the most intense Owen album, The Avalanche is also the most beautifully crafted.