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Slow Speed:Deep Owls

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Album Review

The second album by Chicago trio Bear Claw continues with the same brand of old-fashioned mid-'90s math rock the band first explored on their debut, Find the Sun. Despite the group's slightly odd lineup (a drummer and two bassists, one of whom usually plays through a fuzzbox or other effects pedals to simulate the timbre of a guitar), fans of Polvo, the short-lived post-Big Black outfit Rapeman (whose Steve Albini engineered this), or the Jesus Lizard will find Slow Speed: Deep Owls comfortingly familiar. In other words, think low-end throb, dynamic shifts from near-ambient spaciness to heavy riffage, tricky time signatures, and screamy vocal delivery of abstract, impressionistic lyrics. It's a bit math rock by numbers, but since the style veered into the post-hardcore and screamo subgenres, it's been hard to find pure examples of the form at all, much less anything as genuinely powerful as slow-building noisy epics like "Fragile End" and "Ask and You Shall Receive." So while Slow Speed: Deep Owls is best recommended to the math rock faithful, it's sure to be received enthusiastically there.

Slow Speed:Deep Owls, Bear Claw
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