Been a while since Owen Tromans has popped up in these pages, but that’s on me, not him. Tromans last caught my ear trading covers with Wooden Wand on a 7” back in 2011, but he’s had a solid clip of singles and tapes since then. 2019 sees the UK singer-songwriter surging back with his most complete statement to date. Between Stones is a winding exploration of driving folk tipped with a heavier heart that dives into progressive impulses and dresses in the tatters of American indie. Tromans retains a sense of grandeur that pays homage to the UK folk form — fanciful characters and lyrical runs open into an appetite for progression that see him open up latter half stunner “Grimcross” into gnarled, prophetic darkness. In many ways though he’s simply channeling the restlessness of these lost bards through a modern lens.
Tromans echoes Johnathan Melberg’s expanse under the wings of Shearwater, who in turn borrowed a lot of it from Talk Talk. “Vague Summer” toughens his take, driving a thread of ‘90s colors through a sound that tumbles close to the crumbs that Bob Mould or Jay Farrar left behind. He’s not one to ruminate too long though, and those flashes all melt together as the record winds on. Tromans has stitched this together into a beautiful, yet tough record. He lilts with the wounded soul of a man hurt but not hung, churning his tales into windswept epics fit to be carried on the wind. Its been a long time coming, but hearing Tromans thrive on Between Stones feels like a triumph for the songwriter. 2019’s packed, but you’d be foolish to let this one slip away into the fray.
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