Wake Owl – The Private World of Paradise

written by: March 9, 2014
Album-Art-For-The-Private-World-Of-Paradise-By-Wake-Owl Release Date: March 4, 2014


Warning: Wake Owl’s debut album, The Private World of Paradise, is a straight-up snooze fest. Singer and songwriter Colyn Cameron, along with producer Richard Swift, concocts an incredibly insipid record that sounds lame and nauseating, with unmemorable tunes, an overall lethargic feel, and mushy, unimaginative themes like dysfunctional relationships.

In fact, most of the songs on The Private World of Paradise—barring the outstanding final three tracks—sound like they came straight from a plodding, mopey hell.

The album meshes synth-pop with indie rock that ostensibly is supposed to sound upbeat, atmospheric, and retro. Instead, it sounds like a gooey, sticky kitsch of uninspiring ballads that will make you sick to your stomach.

The first track, “Days in the Sea,” sets the tone for the next seven tracks on The Private World of Paradise. It has rich melodies, strong harmonies, and colorful guitar notes, but they sound slow, monotonous, and depressing. Cameron knows how to play music, but his singing will test your patience.

Remember Radiohead’s sixth album, Hail To The Thief? Every song was good, except it got irritating when Thom Yorke wouldn’t shake up his vocals. His famous tenor voice got pretty stale by the end of the album. It’s the same with Cameron—his neat vocals stay neat long enough to put anybody to sleep.

Fortunately, he changes his tone a bit on “Oh Baby” when he abruptly calls out his ex-girlfriend: “I fucked with your mind, silly girl.” In a rare moment of non-serenity, Cameron’s angry tone captures your attention, if only for a split second. “Oh Baby” contains a catchy, guitar-driven melody with a ’70s vibe, but Cameron moping about his previous relationship really kills the song, and the quick flash of actual emotion isn’t enough to save it.

There is some musical redemption in The Private World of Paradise, though. The last three tracks are outstanding, experimental masterpieces.

“Untitled” is a psychedelic-infused ballad, where Cameron’s vocals sound more mechanical and loopy. “Desert Flowers” is a bass-driven, ambient anthem, a softer version of the marching band performing at the pep rally. Both songs’ unique melodies and sophisticated electronics show Cameron’s ability to think outside the box.

The last song, “Candy 2,” drives home that point. It contains a diverse array of rhythms rumbling along with simple, melodious synth notes. Meanwhile, a loop of someone chanting plays in the background. “Candy 2” offers more depth, as a melancholic violin tune that you might hear in an old movie adds another solid layer and a more vibrant atmosphere to the song.

Why Cameron couldn’t incorporate these unique sounds into the first seven tracks of the album is a mystery. The Private World of Paradise meanders in this unforgivable maze of superficial, indie-pop kitsch for far too long.

It doesn’t help that Cameron focuses on clichéd themes like love, life, and loss in relationships. For once, can’t there be an album about brain-eating aliens and giant monsters roaming the countryside? Despite what its title would suggest, The Private World of Paradise is no walk in the Garden of Eden.

Wake Owl – The Private World of Paradise tracklist:

  1. “Days In The Sea”
  2. “Candy”
  3. “Letters”
  4. “Vacation”
  5. “Kid”
  6. “Buffalo”
  7. “Oh Baby”
  8. “Madness Of Others”
  9. “Untitled”
  10. “Desert Flowers”
  11. “Candy 2”