It’s always been tough to get the measure of Craig Owens. From his early breakthrough with Chiodos to the brief but brilliant flare of D.R.U.G.S., his work with post-hardcore supergroup Isles & Glaciers to the relentless venom of grindcore project Bea5t, the 32-year-old has never settled in one place for long. Hell, he even popped up on Dr. Dre’s ‘Compton’ comeback album.
True to form, this most chameleonic of vocalists is trying out another guise: that of the sultry, bed-hopping R&B / electro-pop lothario. As debut EP ‘WHYDFML’ slinks by, it’s clear that it suits him. Whether it’s the hushed, languid grooves and breathy confessions of ‘Same Thing Every Day’ or club-friendly beats of ‘One Car Funeral’, Owens sounds comfortable alone in the spotlight.
Sure, the tales of covert hook-ups and blurred morality are a little one-note, and there’s nothing ‘alternative’ about badXchannels at all: but his vocals and hooks are very much on point. He holds his own alongside Issues’ Tyler Carter on ‘Complicated’ – no mean feat – and skewers the music industry’s fickleness with the smooth but bitter ‘DottedxLines’.
With a little bit more diversity and room to fully tease out his vision, Craig could really be onto something.