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Good NightOwl - Liars CD (album) cover


Good NightOwl


Eclectic Prog

3.85 | 88 ratings

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5 stars Good NightOwl is an Eclectic Prog project from Daniel Lewis Cupps , and he has been releasing albums under that name since 2011. At this point, he has 15 albums released under that moniker, including "Liars", released on the first day of a new year and a new decade; 2020.

"Liars" is a concept album telling a story about a pathological liar who uses a false theory that liars are only proof that there are alternate timelines. That's definitely an interesting concept, and the story is expressed in an amazing beautiful vocal harmony created from layers of voices that sound very much like the harmonies in "Fleet Foxes" music, and since I am a fan of that innovative indie-folk band, I am also fond of the vocals here. But that is where the comparison ends and the interesting instrumentation and rhythmic structures make this quite an entrancing progressive work.

There are some scattered style usage here, including the nice symphonic sound on the title track "Liars" that also mixes an intriguing art-pop style that puts this album way above the musical norm. It's airy and light with fluttering instrumentation and orchestral effects at times, the sound going through some unexpected textural manipulations that help to paint the picture of the overall storyline. Later, the guitar lines and the orchestral effects contradict each other creating some nice dissonant harmonies, yet it all stays surprisingly lush and wonderful.

The fact that Cupps plays and sings everything on this album is almost unbelievable, because it is done so well that you would swear this was done with a full band. The addition of piano and brass in "Younger" make a very catchy sound, but Cupps makes sure that the music never stays in a single groove for too long, though he does return to main themes within songs, but keeps it all dynamic so that any one motif never wears itself out. Right from the beginning, the track "Pressure" sticks out as a definite standout track as it grabs your attention with a tuba sounding bass and the rapid fire vocal delivery (yes complete with harmonics) proves that there is a heavy layer of humor in the music, but the complexity of the sounds, beats and meter changes in this track shows that Cupps is serious about what he is doing. Then he chooses to end it all with a funky and jazzy feel with the track "Believe".

Seeing that, among other things, Cupps is a comedian and actor, this album shows the perfect combination of his talents added to his compositional mastery. It's all here on this album. But then he takes his brilliant ideas and mixes them all together to make some of one of the most concise and perfect sounding one-man-band prog-pop albums I have heard, then waits until New Years Day of a new decade to release it. How brilliant is that? It's hard to believe that one of the best albums of 2020 would be on day one, but I believe Good NightOwl has achieved that here. I love this sound. Bright, airy, fun, experimental and smart. Beautiful harmonics, excellent levels of interplay between the instruments, nice doses of progressive sounds, whirling keys and guitars and changing melodies that create both light and thick textures, this is one needs to be heard. Yes I am a bit prejudice because I am taken immediately by the vocal harmonics, but that is all backed up by a very smart use of instrumentation, both traditional and electronic. It's love at first listen!

TCat | 5/5 |


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