While every second band seems to be producing shiny, indie pop tunes or garage rock music, it’s nice to know The Owls are trying something a little different. The Novocastrian quartet takes a much grittier route when they wield their axes. Their chosen genre is rock of the primal, swaggering, stoner and swamp varieties. It’s the kind of music that you might try on in the studio, only to say “F**k it, let’s record in small, tin shed” (true story!)
Swamp Love is their second EP and is lead by the single, ‘Better Off Deaf’. This has been receiving a fair amount of airplay and it’s easy to see why, especially when you consider the crunchy guitar-work reminiscent of The Mess Hall. In fact, if there was ever a song committed to tape that sounded like two horned devils going through their game plan for mischief, then it’s this hot and full-bodied attack.
The boys barely skip a beat thanks to the rock-hard pummelling of ‘Take Me Alive’. This one has fire, brimstone and urgency etched into every bit while the title track will leave you on your knees and begging for more. The drums roll, the bass is grungy and the mood is damned scary.
The chill continues into ‘Memo’, a dark number that makes you think of those famous Brits with their summer rain (consider the Joy Divisions and Placebos of the musical world and you’re not too far off). The closing track, ‘Compredé’ hits closer to home with some softer, blues music delivered in the vein of Nick Cave, particularly when he’s off fronting Grinderman.
At a little over 20 minutes, The Owls’ Swamp Love is all about things being left rough-around-the-edges. Ultimately, the guitar is the king in this sweaty neck of the woods, as dirty love in little more than a sweatbox is traded as currency and the guitars dip, howl and bend to make six unpolished, alt-rock gems.
Originally published on 3 January 2012 at the following website: http://sludgefactory.com.au/owls-swamp-love-ep-review
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