Despite being released in 2004, “Air” off Our Hopes And Dreams by The Owls was one of the frequented songs in my playlist last summer. The song maintains its pedestal spot as “Best Song By The Owls,” despite the recent release of Daughters And Suns. But where Our Hopes And Dreams as a whole maintained brevity in terms of my attention, Daughters And Suns finds the Minneapolis band with many more repeat plays.
The biggest difference between Our Hopes and Daughters is not necessarily the lyrics, which have remained fairly similar in style and prose, but the vocal styling of Maria May. Our Hopes is vocally and musically playful and light, most noticeably in “Air”, but Daughters finds May and her backing band maturing by leaps and bounds. The first single may be “The Way On”, but don’t be surprised if that’s soon followed by videos and 7” singles for “Welcome To Monday” and “Peppermint Patty”, two stellar pop tracks.
The vocal and musical maturity also means that select songs possess a more contemporary sound, but it is not always the case. “Yellow Flowers” and “The Lucky Ones” may fit that description, but the catchy “Apocalypse” is closer to the style of “Welcome To Monday”, whose lyrical hooks put Daughters in the same realm as ex-Delgados front-woman Emma Pollock’s solo debut from earlier this year. “Isaac Bashevis Singer” switches things up; here May’s songwriting relates more to Jenny Lewis than Pollock.
Brian Tighe selectively joins May on vocals and, on Daughters, takes over lead on tracks like “Peaceful Place”, “Black Hands Of Time”, and the catchy closing track “Channel”. Whether Tighe or May is fronting the vocals, Daughters And Suns is likely to maintain a steady home in your future summer playlists.
This review was originally published December 5, 2007 on the old version of FensePost. Above image by D. Romunds.
The Owls: Peppermint Patty [mp3]
[audio:090412_the_owls_-_peppermint_patty.mp3|titles=Peppermint Patty|artists=The Owls]
Magic Marker Records [CD, 2007]
1. The Way On
2. Yellow Flowers
3. Welcome To Monday
4. Peppermint Patty
5. All Those In Favor
6. Bury Your Mind
7. The Lucky Ones
9. Isaac Bashevis Singer
10. Peaceful Place
11. Little Stranger
12. Black Hands Of Time