Our (very kind!) music-reviewin' friends over at the wonderful Alternative Control sent a package this week containing a plethora of stickers and an (illustrated!) Owl Maker CD. In celebration of their general badassery, we slumbering townsfolk are re-running our review of Sky Road, said band's latest effort. This short lil' write-up was put to paper prior to our acquisition of the web property upon which ye currently gaze, so forgive the brevity.
Without further ado:
Like all highfalutin peasantry, my rag-tag compatriots and I here at the Sleeping Village like our music with a little lyrical substance & mythological flavoring. As luck would have it, so do Owl Maker. Despite representing the insular world of southern CT, this hard-hitting trio is inspired by Lakota legend & moonlit desert landscapes. If anyone still needed proof that honest rock ‘n’ roll recognizes few borders, geographical or otherwise, we hereby present Exhibit A. Revel in the glory of Sky Road, Owl Maker’s latest EP.
Cruisin’ under 9 minutes, the length inherently places this EP in a strange spot. Both tracks represent different aspects of the sound & ethos Owl Maker have built, but as a result of such brevity, Sky Road has no central defining identity. Yet, as an exercise in introducing an identity, it succeeds enormously. The title track is a wonderfully straightforward rocker--bluesy, groovy, consumed by no-nonsense momentum. Instrumentally speaking, I found the strongest aspect of Owl Maker’s debut EP to be the drumming: aggressive & driven, a pure distillation of rock swagger. On this offering, the drums are no less potent. With that said, bassist Jessie May ups her game, lending the low end a thick presence. In contrast, the following track, entitled "Owl City," pulls back the curtain on Owl Maker’s menacing side. We heard harsh vocals previously--albeit briefly--on Paths of the Slain, & this taps into a similarly dark energy. Like Lennon’s infamous "Twist & Shout" rasp, Tuozzoli’s sore-throat vocal quality is an unexpected & exceedingly welcome surprise, adding a wisened edge & subtle aggression. Like an alchemical invocation of Thin Lizzy, Owl City is simultaneously light on its feet & heavy on the bass. All told, a well-conceived Jekyll/Hyde display.
Because we’re in the business of criticism, "Owl City’s" first verse seems out of place with its filtered & high pitched delivery, especially when contrasted with the raspy vocals. But otherwise, what’s not to love? Nothing, say we. Check out Sky Road--enough said. You won’t be disappointed