Hailing from L.A. by way of South Africa, indie rock artist, Grant Owen has released his Ep, “Reborn”, which is a heartfelt testimony of Grant’s struggle with an autoimmune disorder known as “red skin syndrome,” or cortico-steroid addiction. The auto-immune disorder was caused by a medication he was given since a child, and 3 years ago he went off the drug cold turkey. Grant’s body went into serious shock and withdrawal due to the length of time he was on this particular medication. It has been an intense, very long, and extremely harsh process.
This is where Grant’s guitar and dormant songwriting abilities became his saving grace. He found that strumming and picking at the guitar soothed and helped to relax him. It also kept his hands occupied so he couldn’t scratch himself – thus not inflicting further wounds on his body. Finally singing, playing guitar and songwriting occupied his mind and became his painkiller of sorts, a surprising and pleasant distraction from the physical and mental torment I was having to endure daily. “Reborn” This is a token of all the music Grant created in the midst of that physical nightmare.
After a day and a half of not being able to listen to anything but this Ep, I can tell you that it’s definitely a keeper. Owen has one of the purest voices in the entire alternative rock genre, and part of what’s makes him stand out, is his ability to take that pure voice and lay it over the top of any kind of loud or soft material and yet still have it consistently shine through all the sound dynamics.
Grant Owen really flexes his songwriting on this Ep. He comes up with a unique style blending grunge, rock, pop with softer Americana influences that is immediately accessible but will click even better after a few listens. The chords are fleshed out from far beyond his soul, the phrases build on each other, and the arrangements are rich; the result being a work with incredible emotional depth and the necessary accompaniment to go with the raw energy and expressiveness of Owen’s voice. There’s a balanced perfection to every track, and there’s not a song on this Ep that is indecipherable or devoid of pure listening satisfaction.
Grant Owen has come a long way and through a lot of life’s hard times and this Ep certainly proves that he is more than capable of manning his own artistry. He is a wonderful songwriter and can orchestrate his own sound beautifully. His songs will break through your crusty heart and pull at the strings, as he sings his way through rich, lush melodies to inventive acoustic foot tappers and lovely, otherworldly ballads with equal skill and beauty, all the while retaining crunch and power.
Truly, each of the six songs offers some sort of reason to be listened to, whether it be the finely written melodies, the intense lyrics, the exquisite vocals, the instrumental backing or the just the catchiness of the tunes. A case in point are the tracks “No Hero”, “On Top Of The World” or “Do You Remember”, songs which could teach you how to craft pop songs that rise above the rest, with its three or four different hooks: The well-written verses, the climb of the bridge, the absolutely infinitely appealing choruses, the way each section gains new regard when it is altered slightly upon repeating. Brilliant!
The Ep features pure music filled with creativity and originality and one of the coolest voices around. This music is so good on so many levels. It has a wide variety of textures and colors, while Grant Owen sings beautifully and with so much passion on each and every song. “Reborn” is a perfect Ep; it could not have been done any better!
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