were a short lived emo/post hardcore band from Richmond, Virginia. With a discography only spanning one LP, a few splits and a small compilation, they’re an easy band to skim over as one could dismiss them as part of the plethora of mediocre, middle road hardcore knock offs. But Wow, Owls!
display an interesting mix of indie/garage rock, emo and hardcore on their one and only LP "Pick Your Patterns"
that warrants more attention than they ever got. The vocals are raw, throat-tearing screams that often switch into simple shouted vocals, backed up with gang vocals for fun anthem moments, chanting “we will dance like everyone’s watching” that feel more catchy and carefree than anything. Which is where I think Wow, Owls!
mainly exceed, as they sensibly fill their sound with bouncy guitar rhythms, bass-lines and shouts that lean more towards fun indie rock than hardcore. The vocals rarely leave their comfort zone, never moving into that cringe inducing, strained, and choking on tears sound many vocalists attempt in a bid to sound troubled. Emo influences mainly come through in the lyric , as lamentations such as “I’m a monster inside” are screamed out and strewn across emotional build-ups and frenetic hardcore riffs.
However, Wow, Owls!
sound much more content and resigned in whatever sadness they feel than other emo bands, as often songs tread the middle ground of hardcore/emo utilizing staccato riffs, mathy guitars (thankfully non excessive) gang vocals and meandering bass lines to create a slower paced contemplative atmosphere. Melodic guitar parts that are somewhat reminiscent of Hot Cross
, often lay the grounds for build-ups into fuzzy garage rock-esque choruses, carried along with competent punk drumming. Pick Your Pattern's
only fault comes in its compositional approach. There is a lack of diversity in song writing here that leaves a bit to be desired, as only 2 songs fall over the 4 minute mark, and there is little deviation from the style that is established within the first few tracks. But what Wow, Owls!
do, they do well, leaving Pick Your Patterns
a concise and consistent unassuming record that matches the best parts of hardcore and emo.