Debut album from London based 5 piece Owl & Mouse, fronted by Australian songwriter Hannah Botting.
Owl & Mouse. What’s in a name? In a just world, the seemingly bottomless talent pool that is the Botting family would be held in the same regard as the Osmonds and Jacksons thanks to their assorted attempts to charm both London and the wider world. Bill Botting, Allo Darlin's perennially pogoing, perma-grinning bassist (and, more recently, solo artist in his own right) has been winning hearts and fans for half a decade and more, but the imminent release of Owl & Mouse's forthcoming début album, ‘Departures’ marks the turn of his siblings to take a star turn in the limelight.
The songwriting vehicle for talented young Brisbanite Hannah Botting, which began as a twosome with sister Jen. “The name was kind of silly,” says Hannah, reflecting on the band's early days. “It came from a song I wrote years ago about an owl and a mouse that go to war together. With the addition of Tom Wade (We Aeronauts) and the prolific pairing of Emma Winston and Dan Mayfield (Enderby's Room, Darren Hayman's Long Parliament). The extra additions – playing alongside star turns from Michael Collins (Allo Darlin') and Paul Rains (Allo Darlin', Tigercats) – have given Hannah's songwriting an added musical depth, complimenting the record’s overarching themes and ideas. Straight out of the same school of Australian songwriting as The Go-Betweens, Triffids and Courtney Barnett, Hannah's words follow her compatriots' ability to be widescreen and personal at once, infused with an added degree of delicacy and poignancy.
“There’s definitely a theme of travel and adventure running across a lot of the songs. That feeling of being a bit lost and a bit unsure but at the same time excited, is something that sits underneath all the songs.” The results manifest themselves in an album that's both infectious and joyous – 'Misfits' and its ruminations on family; bittersweet – the brass-laden title track and its tales of airport arguments; and understatedly emotive – the turmoil of deciding whether to hold on to someone you love or not hold them back, detailed in 'Canvas Bags'; and 'Sinking Song's memories of the struggle of making friends in a new town, led by Wade's Stephin Merritt-esque baritone).
In their début album they've made music which both swells the heart and conjures quiet reflection. Most of all, ‘Departures’ is, as its name suggests, music to escape into.
Artwork comes courtesy of Tom Humberstone, of the New Statesman.
Owl & Mouse press:
“This is exceptionally beautiful and one that should be on everyone’s radar” Folk Radio
“There’s an observational acuity in her writing that’s almost novelish and her singing is freighted with bittersweet emotion, while she builds up her songs with inspired orchestration. In that sense, she’s not another anything…. Constructed of simple but strong tunes, Owl & Mouse’s second offering is a little gem.” SoundsXP
“understated, delicate and minimalist, but its honest and melancholic tone and beautiful melodies certainly make it worth checking out.” For Folks Sake
“Botting’s delivery and subject matter are beautiful and sad in equal measure” Neon Filler
1. Keep Your Eyes Open Wide
3. Worst Kiss
4. Canvas Bags
6. Basic Economics
7. Sick Of Love
9. Sinking Song