Owls
Owls


4.0
excellent

Review

by The Katz brothers USER (183 Reviews)
May 5th, 2007 | 34 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cap'n Jazz + musical precision + good production - youthful energy = Owls

Tim Kinsella has spread his chips way too thin.

That being said, he can write songs with the best of them. But then again, perhaps that’s why he has so many god damn bands. His high school project (with drummer brother Mike), a band called Cap’n Jazz, would prove to be a highly influential (if extremely sloppy) platform for the band’s members to splinter apart and make some of the best underground music of the 90’s. Bands like The Promise Ring, Make Believe, American Football, Joan of Arc, Ghosts and Vodka and Owen would probably not be possible if it weren’t for Jazz. And let’s not forget Owls. The band features four, count ‘em, four ex-Cap’n Jazz members, including both Kinsella brothers.

Owls debuted with an 8 track self titled release, produced by Alternative wonder-kind Steve Albini. You wouldn’t be too far off if you had guessed that Owls sounds extremely similar to the band that begat it, but there’s something different in this album. Cap’n Jazz has matured. Or have they? Do mature human beings write songs about having sex with Jesus?

Regardless, Owls certainly is a more refined sound. Tim still yowls his lyrics in that same wonderfully out of tune warble, but this time the band is playing their songs more professionally. All the instruments come in on time, and the production is slick and dense. It’s a change, that’s for certain. Owls is the difference between Pavement’s Slanted and Enchanted and their Crooked Rain. It’s still lo-fi, it’s still indie, but after listening to that last record, this sounds like Classic Rock. Albeit, some good freaking classic rock.

What Whorse You Wrote Id On is the grooviest track Cap’n Jazz never recorded. Sam Zurick’s bouncey bass part gives the song a 60’s reggae vibe, but Kinsella’s Malkmus-esque squawks quickly distance the band from Bob Marley and all them. Oddly enough, his lazy drawl seems to be a perfect fit for the complex guitar ‘n bass interplay going on around it. His repeated usage of the line “Anything I can mistake in the dark for being what I’m looking for is good enough for me” gives the song a distinctly dark feel, while his emotional screams of “Ask the prettiest girl in any small town” stand out as some of the most poignant vocals on the album. It’s no secret that Kinsella is an emotive vocalist, and he proves himself again and again on Owls, going from naïve to tear-jerking in seconds flat.

The other Kinsella brother proves himself on this record as well. Gone are the spastic, off kilter rhythms of Cap’n Jazz. Now Mike exhibits some truly brilliant drumming, recalling jazz greats, as well as arena rock royalty in a series of tom-tom hits. Keep in mind, Owls make fairly complicated music, with loosely free-roaming guitar riffs coming off the upper reaches of the fretboard, and abstract, yet driving bass lines that might not be out of place in Fugazi, so Mike’s drumming not only adds to the confusion, but manages to find way to keep it all semi-controlled. Also: despite all the references to classic rock Owls are hardly “that” either. The s/t is far from a “heavy” affair, in many ways, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Most of the music borders on Indie Pop, but has a deliciously off-kitler aspect to it, and more emotion that a room full of PMSing teenage girls. When Tim Kinsella sings “and each morning I know I'll be no good come night. And each night I know I'll be no good come morning. There are secrets and there are secrets, screw drivers tucked under the mattress.” You know exactly how it feels, even if you have no idea what he’s talking about. Cryptic brilliance, Kinsella is a god and Owls is his band.

- Joe



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user ratings (103)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
slep
May 5th 2007


1604 Comments


Good review. I liked the stuff I heard on Last.fm. Very good indie. This Message Edited On 05.05.07

iarescientists
May 5th 2007


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'll check this shit out sometime I guess.

AlienEater
May 6th 2007


716 Comments


I want some Cap'n Jazz or related bands

antihippy
May 6th 2007


696 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review. i've always been interested in cap'n jazz and the likes.

would you mind sending me some sample tracks? ;)

The Jungler
May 7th 2007


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This review keeps on going on and off the front page.
Thanks for the comments guys

BringHomeTheBacon
May 7th 2007


248 Comments


The Kinsellas are an interesting pair of guys, although I've always been a bigger fan of Mike's work. I'll look into this some more though. Great review.

The Jungler
June 30th 2007


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love this CD, it's such a good listen.

Shame they never followed this up.
This Message Edited On 06.30.07

iarescientists
June 30th 2007


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ugh, why you gotta bump yourself like that

queeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer

DFelon204409
Emeritus
July 20th 2007


3995 Comments


I like the two tracks I have but I feel a full length of this type material will be too much.

The Jungler
July 21st 2007


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like the two tracks I have but I feel a full length of this type material will be too much.
yeah, the biggest (only, really) problem here is that the album gets a little tedious in the middle. Really worth the listen though.
What two tracks do you have?

Cadaveric
July 21st 2007


152 Comments


thanks so much for this jungler. it's really good

antihippy
September 8th 2007


696 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is good.

pixiesfanyo
June 19th 2008


1223 Comments


why don't you mention Victor in this review at all?

he is the reason this album is amazing. seriously one of the best guitarists of ever.

embroglio
August 9th 2008


219 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i agree, vic is such an inspiration. he just about makes this album.

SnackaryBinx
September 17th 2008


2309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't know this included a lot of members of Cap'N Jazz. I was just randomly trolling around blogs and found this, it's pretty nice.

gaslightanthem
April 16th 2009


5209 Comments


really like this :]

Iamthe Nightstars
August 5th 2009


2285 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Does Mike also do backing vocals on this? Because that definitely sounds like him in 'Anyone Can Have A Good Time' when they switch off saying "we fall into patterns quickly".

EasternLight
December 19th 2009


2700 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

where can i get this????

Athom
Staff Reviewer
January 25th 2010


17222 Comments


rules

SnackaryBinx
March 22nd 2010


2309 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

man is it crazy why this band broke up



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