Ben Ottewell

A Man Apart

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The third studio long-player from the Gomez guitarist, vocalist, and co-founder, A Man Apart is the follow-up to 2014's Rattlebag, and it shares its predecessor's penchant for pairing reflective Anglo-Americana with the bluesy, Brit-pop-inflected folk-rock that made up the core of his flagship band. Fading in on a warm wave of soft synths, opener "Own It" sets a pleasing tone with its quietly propulsive backbeat and spirited lead vocal. Ottewell looks mostly inward throughout the ten-track set, parsing through the myriad regrets and small joys that lend life its richness with the thoughtful demeanor of a man in his fourth decade -- lead single "Watcher," with its breezy melody and easy nostalgia, should please longtime Gomez fans. There is some poking around different sonic avenues with the Beatlesque "Cradle" and the lumbering, Appalachian folk-inflected title track, but for the most part, the reliable A Man Apart sticks with the program that Ottewell established on his two prior outings.

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