Owl John is the solo project of Scott Hutchison, lead singer of Frightened Rabbit. The Scottish indie rocker is embarking on something a little less sweeping, a camera pulled in a little tighter. The debut album is, as of this writing, hovering in my top 10 albums of the year. We’ve still got some months to go so we’ll see if it makes our very important year end feature, but either way, I dig it a lot, Scott.
There are two stand-outs: “A Good Reason to Grow Old,” a redemptive, aspirational love song and this one. “Los Angeles, Be Kind” is Hutchison’s record of moving to our Los Angeles, a place he has finally come to call home after much wrestling. There’s no shortage of great songs about LA because of its many faces and characters, and I think this is one. Mostly the phrases; “such a villanous grace,” “some nights I can’t figure out quite where your heart is,” “we waltz unseen behind Hollywood’s ballroom doors.”
The video is a narrow letterbox of blurry, high contrast LA landmarks against dramatic black & white footage of the ocean and Hutchison. It’s almost like a hazy, drunken memory of the city. It doesn’t rely on obvious landmark shots like the walk of fame, but on smaller, local icons: Mel’s Diner on Highland, the Roxy, the view from the 101. It is the kind of menacing and beautiful imagery that compels newcomers to ask for its mercy.