When the first Owls album came out, it was aimed squarely at me: a skinny white undergraduate with an ee cummings delusion, sad about Don Caballero splitting up, just trying to find his place in the world.
Putting the Owls record on was throwing a pebble into a lake. A moment of simple freedom full of fluid wordplay, rippling guitars, a rhythm section that flows like a rip current. The album totally caught me at a perfect moment and lodged words and phrases, shapes and sounds, permanently in my head. It lifted me by the shoulders, dragging me off into a Cap’n Jazz/Joan of Arc/Make Believe/everything else odyssey.
The artwork, like that on Mount Eerie’s Pre-Human Ideas, pricks fun at the seriousness – or perceived seriousness – of the band. Trifle and dick collages decorate a colourful, silly sleeve.
Owls broke up because they couldn’t stay together. It was a happy surprise when they reconvened in Chicago in the last couple of years to write and record a new album. The artwork for the new record brings all of that early excitement back – the fun, the playfulness, the irreverent collage – and the first full song previewed is great.
I am deeply excited, because I’m still sad about Don Caballero breaking up and trying to find my place in the world.