Colyn Cameron's debut EP as Wake Owl, Wild Country, borrows from so many current trends that it gets buried under them.
Wild Country fits into the growing category of Americana-flavored pop. Cameron’s tunes are pristinely packaged bundles of bittersweet melodies and longing lyrics that wouldn’t be out of place on pop radio, on tour with a band like The Lumineers or on a TV show like Nashville.
Wake Owl’s songs focus on acoustic strumming, mournful long tones played by violins or pedal steel, and Cameron’s edgy vocals, which at times sound like an imitation of Kristian Matsson of The Tallest Man On Earth.
It’s attempting to sound intimate and raw – as if we’re hearing Cameron in a wild, pure state – but the pop polish acts like thick glass at a zoo putting distance between the audience and the music.
“Gold” is Wake Owl’s best attempt at breaking this barrier. Even jaded listeners will pause to give the decent build and catchy melody a chance; however, any goodwill is lost on “Seaside” when the twinkling Owl City-style electronic accents arrive to make the song song the cheesiest of the bunch.
When the EP concludes, it’s hard to say what – if anything – sets Wake Owl apart. Wild Country sounds like it was recorded to fit in which makes it all the more forgettable.
Wild Country is available now via Vagrant Records.