MYCAMEO: A poorly maintained music blog… Mostly reviews, sometimes more.

The Owls – Swamp Love

Released: 2012 (Green Media Distribution)  http://www.theowlsonline.com/

Band:
Joshua Bailey – Vocals/Rhythm
Lewis Gillespie – Lead/Vocals
Joseph Bourke – Bass
Matthew McDonough – Drums

Track List:
1) Better Off Deaf
2) Take Me Alive
3) Swamp Love
4) Memo
5) Space Invaders
6) Comprendé

Review:
Tempting as it is to begin with a “better off deaf” joke, this debut EP from The Owls would render such a comment almost completely unjustified. Featuring driving riffs and effective vocal harmonies, ‘Swamp Love’ draws the listener in from the first track.

Hailing from Newcastle, these “indie rock” boys are competent musicians with a clear vision of their desired sound. In fact, this vision is so clear that they scrapped their original EP from an unnamed “big studio”, and instead re-recorded in their own self-built “tin shed” and mixed in a bedroom setup – and it shows, but it’s much better than one might expect. While it can be hard to listen to on occasion, this DIY approach suits their genre rather well. The sacrificing of sound quality creates a rougher atmosphere that combines effectively with the heavy guitars and droning vocal style to create a suitably gloomy mood that matches the lyrical content.

From track to track, there is a good variation in the feel of the songs, which helps break up the potential for monotony. However, within songs there tends to be more repetition, so while “Memo”, for example, starts strong, it eventually becomes little more than tedious. On a closer listen, the songs do have more dynamic variation than it first seems, but the hypnotic nature of the music makes this harder to notice. One exception is the final track, “Comprendé”, which unexpectedly switches to a Latin feel, with quieter percussion instead of the drum kit, refreshing clean guitars, and interesting sound effects. While the track does suffer to some extent from the same repetitive nature, it is so different to the rest of the music that this becomes much less noticeable.

Overall, this is a surprisingly good debut EP from The Owls. It will not please everyone, however this strong start is sure to be the herald of better things to come.

Score: 7/10

Five Descriptive Words:
1) Moody
2) Hypnotic
3) Rough
4) Driving
5) Repetitive

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