Owen Stephen – ‘Still Dreaming’ EP review
Debut solo outing from TOG bassist
1. Rainy Skies
2. Always Looking
3. Just Dreaming
4. From Grace
5. Place Called Love
6. Hardest Roots
In between touring America, performing with the likes of Darren Hayes (ex-Savage Garden) at Wembley and recording the next album from The October Game, Owen Stephen has found the time in his busy schedule to create this, his debut solo EP ‘Still Dreaming’. Having become something of a veteran of Hertfordshire’s thriving underground music scene, playing in various acts over the years, Owen is finally getting attention further afield, with this EP looking set to build on that. (Note: Owen isn’t the only TOG member to release solo material – bandmate Ollie Taylor released his album ‘Little Drummer Boy’ last year on Scylla Records, reviewed here https://thursdayaddams.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/ollie-taylor-little-drummer-boy/).
Whilst this collection may share one or two influences with TOG, this is actually a very different sound here – the elements of folk and americana are still present, but in place of their electronic and alt-rock sides there is instead an injection of country and (much like Ollie’s album) dashes of chilled-out, soulful pop. ‘Rainy Skies’ open things up with a relaxed, almost summery feel, then ‘Always Looking’ picks up the pace with an energetic, country-infused number – one surely to get the crowd moving. Title track ‘Just Dreaming’ is a thoughtful, Tracy Chapman-esque track which adds piano and a dash of reggae to the mix, followed by the upbeat ‘From Grace’. ‘Place Called Love’ is another country-pop number, and it’s one that could potentially see Owen gain some success on the other side of the Atlantic, where, at the time of this review being written, he’s currently touring. Closing track ‘Hardest Roots’ expresses similar sentiments to track two; striving for more, lamenting loss but fighting off the negativity that follows.
Sounding confident and completely at ease in a solo/leading capacity, ‘Still Dreaming’ deserves to do well. You may just find that this finds its way into your summertime playlist too, with its sound perfectly suited for the coming season. Sales from this EP will go towards funding the planned full-length album release later this year – definitely one to watch out for.
For fans of: The October Game, Tracy Chapman, Matchbox 20
Owen Stephen’s ‘Still Dreaming’ EP is available now from iTunes, Amazon, emusic, Bandcamp and other online stores.