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Album Review

Owls contains the four original members of hardcore/emo pioneers Cap'n Jazz, but don't expect the fragile but intense music of the early days. Likewise, the music is pretty far removed from the computer savvy and audience unfriendly work that singer Tim Kinsella pioneered with his work in Joan of Arc. The record is actually a collection of eight decidedly more rock & roll songs, though there is still plenty of off-kilter thought behind the results. Kinsella's instantly recognizable voice plays it pretty smooth for his fairly straightforward but still a little off-key vocal performances. Guitarist Victor Villarreal, on the other hand, steals the show with his noodling guitar arpeggios and original sonic presence. Open-minded fans of the member's previous bands will certainly see the similarities that still do exist, but those turned off by the past might have to open their hearts to this group on the strength of this debut. Half the band also performs in the instrumental outfit Ghosts and Vodka, and the stylistic musical similarities are actually pretty clear. Kinsella's lyrics are still from the repeat-and-revise book of elliptical commentaries, but he's done so much harder to stomach work that his shtick is almost tolerable in such a benign setting. Steve Albini handled the boards on this one, and the crisp analog recording helps to contribute some more depth to the record than expected. Owls may not take over music based on this disc, but it is still a fine achievement and many of the collaborators' best work in years. ~ Peter J. D'Angelo, Rovi


Formed: 2001 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Owls began in 2001, splintering from a long lineage of high-concept rock bands all centralized around the efforts of a group of friends who'd been playing together since their early high-school days. This crew of musicians started out playing spirited and screamy melodic emo as Cap'n Jazz, living in relative obscurity during their short lifespan, but going on to inspire new legions of fans years after their breakup when their catalog of short run 7"s and a single LP was reissued in the late '90s....
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Owls, Owls
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