‘The Counsel of Owls’ from Mikey Kenney - fundamentally soul-soothing

(May 09, 2016)

Another album from Mikey Kenney reveals a uniqueness shaped through the interaction between precarious, tremulous vocals, wandering expansive instrumentation and lyrics awash with poetic meanderings. Taken individually that’s potentially a Mikey Kenney The counsel of owlsprickly marriage of components, however the way Kenney put those elements together delivers another exceedingly attractive album. ‘The Counsel of Owls’, released under his own name rather than the Ottersgear project, which held his first solo offering, has everything you would expect from this musician and poet ... liberal imagery, overflowing soundscapes, soaring fiddle breaks and intriguing avenues of progression.

Gently yet appositely observant, the songs record far-ranging interpretations and examinations. They expand on influences gleaned from places and experiences, where Kenney’s unique understanding and scrutiny picks up images and illuminations that many would simply pass by. The title track ‘The Counsel of Owls’ pulls you in immediately with its instinctive inventiveness and pastoral edge, ‘Kindling of Morning’ maintains the sensation of rustic texture, ‘Five Brown Horses’ almost suggests a medieval consciousness overlaid with experimental jazz-folk touches, while a bluesy tinge seeps through ‘Sunflower In My Head’. The breadth of elaboration in this album will endure it to a wide audience ... folk tradition blended with experimentation, evolution and innovation hand-in-hand and impressionist composition that moves towards your ears.

More involving than his previous solo album, ‘The Counsel of Owls’ offers an edge of psych-folk allied to a bucolic air that exudes an overall imprssion of peaceful reflection. This is so fundamentally soul-soothing there’s a need to listen again and again.

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Review: Tim Carroll

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