Owen Tromans – Korea CD Single

Owen Tromans
Korea CD Single

A prelude to Owen Troman’s forthcoming full-length, Hope is a Magnet, Korea offers us the album’s first single and a perfectly fitting compliment in “Light it Up.” Already familiar with the UK artist’s work both with the rock band San Lorenzo and his own solo work, I was expecting to be treated to more folk ballads from the British countryside, seeped in history and tradition and sung with a vibrant passion for his trade. And while I’m sure (and hoping) those songs are still there on Hope, we get to see Troman’s pop side in this charming CD single.

“Korea” is a pure pop song, reminding me of xxx’s The Long Winters, with jangly guitar (I’m such a sucker for jangly electric guitar) and an upbeat rhythm. Troman’s deep vocals spin the lyrics nicely, with catchy lines like “ever since you told me about the moon and the skies / and that thing it does to us every once and a while” and “hey girl where you going so fast / you know I only wanted to try to win you back, oh!” It’s a perfectly fitting single for Troman’s upcoming album, a well-written 3.5-minute pop song worthy of at least two or three repeat listens in a sitting.

The B-side, “Light it Up,” is more of a big rock song, with strong electric guitar lead and plenty of rhythm. Now I’m reminded more of a big Frank Black song, or even Bob Mould/Husker Du at times, especially in the chorus. There’s even a guitar solo reminiscent of my guilty pleasure, Matthew Sweet. This one reminds me of Tromans’ work in San Lorenzo far more than “Korea,” and it’s the perfect rock counterpart to the jangly pop of “Korea.”

The strong rock of San Lorenzo is evident on “Light it Up,” but the jangly pop of “Korea” is an unexpected pleasure in Tromans’ rich repertoire. For a fan familiar with Tromans’ work, this single accomplished its goal perfectly: I’m ready and eager to hear how the songwriter has developed and expanded his sound even further on his upcoming release.