Owls "Two" LP

$ 16.00

Owls have a new record. It didn't come fast and it didn't come easy.

It's been over two decades since Tim Kinsella, Mike Kinsella, Victor Villarreal, and Sam Zurick formed Cap'n Jazz as teenagers, and 13 years since they followed up that band with their debut self-titled album under the name Owls.

In the time that has passed since then, the members have kept active with a string of other endeavors (including Owen, Joan of Arc, Make Believe, and Ghosts and Vodka) that have never failed to showcase their vast, diverse, and ever-evolving musical aptitudes.

And yet, even as the four musicians branched off in separate directions, the thread that connected them still remained intact (even if it did become a bit frayed through two previous break-ups).

"The band dynamic was eerily similar to the first record," reveals Mike Kinsella. "In some ways I think we all regressed to whatever roles we filled then, for better and for worse."

With such distinctive musical pedigrees and complex personal relationships to contend with, progress on the album was positively snail-like compared to the five days it took to complete the first record. But nothing good ever comes easily and a listen to Two bears out this adage. It's truly the kind of record that could only have been made by the four unique musicians who all had a hand in crafting it.

While sonically their technique still has the ability to dazzle, age and experience have lent new perspectives to tracks such as "I’m Surprised…” and "Ancient Stars Seed..." -- making them more aggressive and direct, but certainly no less captivating. The drums hit harder, the lyrics are less abstract, but at their core each song captures the essential qualities of its creators.

In a world that increasingly favors style over substance, Owls is unwilling to compromise the latter for the former. And that, at least, is something all the members can easily agree on.