You may have seen Owen McGarry around various venues in Belfast. Further afield he has graced stages as far as America & Switzerland. Well travelled and full of soul, Owen McGarry has released his new EP ‘Stay’ treating us to collaborations featuring some favourites of the NI music scene.
The EP kicks off with ‘Soon’ featuring The Voices’ Conor Scott contributing a raspy intro to a backdrop of almost tribal drums and anticipating strings before Owen McGarry owns the song. There’s a bit of an 80’s vibe going on aided by the use of ethereal synths and saxophone melody. Overall, the track is one consisting of many layers and it could be argued that it would stand out against other local artists of McGarry’s genre. Whilst this may initially be a put off on the first listen, it gradually hits the mark aimed for given the chance.
In ‘Body of Sea’ we are welcomed in gently thanks to the smooth vocals from Kris Platt of More Than Conquerors before Owen breaks the peace with a punching chorus. The initial mellowness of the track is restored before the roar of the final chorus with the addition of strings and vocal harmonies.
‘Paths’ brings us back along the electronic road of which we were brought down initially in the EP. It’s a fusion of harsh sounding synths and drum machines yet it has the delicate undertones of piano. While the whole song is catchy, the pivotal moment is the guitar build up to the crescendo of the final chorus. The track is a bit of a slow burner up to that point but saying that it’s a solid production overall.
Owen is joined by fellow singer songwriter Ryan McMullan on ‘Far Gone’ so naturally we’d be hoping the track to sound like like a fusion of two great minds thinking alike. Both certainly deliver with both voices complimenting each other splendidly and both providing heartfelt expression. Production wise the song is an excellent example of how McGarry can engage the listener and keep them hanging on for more.
The final track ‘Breathe You In’ is a more acoustic affair than what we have grown accustomed to from the rest of the EP. It’s stripped back to the bare essentials giving a nice change and a suitable end. Silhouette’s Shauna Tohill sounds haunting and mixes well with Owen’s energetic delivery. It would not be surprising if it received local radio airplay.
Perhaps one minor criticism that could be made is it would have been nice to have Owen’s voice as the first one we hear on each track but that is possibly just being fussy. Overall, it’s a solid EP with tracks that could potentially become crowd favourites.
◀ STANDOUT ⁞ Far Gone ▶
◀ SOUNDS LIKE ⁞ Paolo Nutini | Two Door Cinema Club ▶