Citizens Out on a Limb Records ***

His 2011 debut, Aliens, was an exploration of sedate, José González-style folk, but one- time punk Michael Owens is taking things up a notch for his follow-up. The addition of a full band gives new depth and texture to the formerly solo guitarist’s flamenco-style base on songs such as the invigorating Hang Your Head Low, while the previously established bossa nova influence is audible on the easygoing Distance of Her Love. Lyrically, these songs are concerned with both personal and public: The Land paints a bleak portrait of society where “outcasts are thrown to the margins”, but the darkness is tempered by the sweet acoustic pop of As You Grow, written for his son. An album of understated contrasts that suddenly rears its head and snaps when you least expect it to. owensie.bandcamp.com

Download tracks: Go On, Distance of Her Love