Owen Tromans – Hope is a Magnet

Owen Tromans
Hope is a Magnet

Owen Tromans plays rock ‘n roll with a folk troubadour’s soul. In his latest release, the British musician eschews the folk style from his latest releases, which called to mind the traditions of the United Kingdom’s countryside, and returns to a full-band sound. Hope is a Magnet emphasizes big electric guitar riffs, catchy rhythms, sing-along choruses, and tight, emphatic song structures.

But what sets Hope is a Magnet apart from other rock albums is that folk soul of Tromans’. His songs feel more like stories, weaving some recurring characters from past releases with lyrics that go far beyond the typical stories of love and angst that permeate the medium. Tromans showed his rock chops with the band San Lorenzo, and here he shows how he can merge that style with his solo folkier roots to create a truly great pop-rock album.

The album’s single, “Light it Up,” is a call to action song filled with big guitar riffs and plenty of rock ‘n roll rhythm. For the catchiest track, transition quickly into “Levitate Me Judith,” a bouncy pop track that will have you bobbing your head from the first note. The combination of upbeat, plucked acoustic guitar and the electric rhythm guitar gives the song a unique and chiming quality. “Evangeline” picks up on that somewhat, with a lighter and more personal feel. (I can’t help but wonder if this is the same Evangeline Matthew Sweet sang about.)

My favorite track here is “Korea,” an up-tempo and catchy song with a brilliant chorus that I’ve had stuck in my head for weeks now. You’ll be singing along with “Hey girl, where ya going so fast, you know I only wanted to try to make this last” in no time. “Dust of Stars” reminds me of the classic British invasion rock, and “Hey Moon” shows the more folky, acoustic side of Tromans’ spirit while still possessing an up-beat rock chorus. The big rock ‘n roll sound comes back with garage riffs on “Ghosts!”, while the instrumental “Cuckoos Over Cradley” showcases Tromans’ guitar prowess. The closer, “Pinball,” builds on a thick rock reverb and quiet horns before ending the album subtly.

Hope is a Magnet is the finest release yet by an artist with an immense amount of talent. Tromans proves his songwriting chops along with a jubilant sense of the roots of rock ‘n roll and pumps out 10 catchy, brilliant tracks. Don’t miss this one.