A few weeks ago, hell maybe it was a month ago, time is just an idea at this point. Night Owl also known as Rob Mohan reached out to me about reviewing his single “The Great Beyond” which we did at the end of August, and now the review of his eight-song album Empress. I was antsy anticipating what this album was going to sound like. I think I mentioned this in the review for his single that we have similar likes when it comes to the music we listen to, and when I heard that single that antsy anticipation grew further. About a week or so ago, remember time is just an idea, I received Empress, and put on some comfortable clothes, my headphones, and melted into my couch.
The eight songs are like soundscapes. Going on all sorts of adventures or rambling through all kinds of thoughts some I thought were just distant memories, others at the present. I love when music does this. I can shut my eyes and just get lost, and I desperately needed to get lost. The album starts with the single I reviewed so I won’t go into much detail about that, but from there this album paints itself as an album. Each song sort of bleeding into the next. “River City” is after this, and it is sort of an ode to our region. In fact, I would pretty much say the album is that. An ode to Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. “Northside Blues,” a wonderful instrumental that gives me visions of Spring Grove Ave and on up. “Alexandria, KY” a song to and about Alexandria, KY. Some might say even the album name Empress is a nod to Empress Chili, but I’ll leave that up to someone else to ask Rob about, or mystery. Mystery is more fun anyways.
I was at work while listening to the album as well, and after about the fourth listen through this idea came to my head. That these songs on their own are like novellas. Short stories of the Queen City, and Northern Kentucky areas, but with something deeper lying beneath that surface. Through the eight tracks there was something that felt a little haunting as well. Maybe it was some of the minor chords mixed with lyrics, or just the drone notes within each song. Honestly, probably all of that. I liked that feeling.
Through the poetry and the sonics I think Night Owl were able to capture the four seasons we go through here. They were able to capture the moods we go through while driving to wherever we may go. I found myself easily getting lost inside the songs, and when I came out of the trance the album was over. Simply lost in whatever the songs were sending me. All these songs encapsulate a story, and maybe that’s the beauty that I find that I like.
I like an album that when it is over you wish you had more. I kind of like that with a lot of things, however when music does it, I am grateful even more. Night Owl with Empress certainly did that. Left me at the end like “well, what do I do now?” Listen again is what I did. These songs have kind of been living with me, and that’s a good thing. They’ve attached to me. Night Owl have put together eight songs that I hope anyone that reads this will give a chance. Honest songs with an instrumentation that is mellow and can allow the listener to escape, or simply have on to listen to with no other otherness happening. Empress the eight-song album by Night Owl is certainly worthy of multiple listens. Listen and enjoy and be kind to one another.
Empress is available now on all streaming services!