The Owls: Our Hopes and Dreams

The Owls
Our Hopes and Dreams

If it wasn't for my grandmother, I might have never known about a wonderful band called The Owls, and that would certainly be a shame. While my grandmother is not a 70-something hipster, she does collect owl tchotchkes, which has led me to take up my own collection. So, when I saw an mp3 from a band called The Owls on this site, I had to listen to it. I've been listening to The Owls ever since.

The Owls play beautiful pop rock, singing about everyday life and heartbreak, and remind me most often of The Beatles' later work. "Air" makes me think of "A Day in the Life" from Sgt. Pepper's while "Forever Changing" projects the energy of Let It Be's "Across the Universe." The amazing "Even Now," written and sung by former drummer Stephen Ittner, would be at home on a number of the Fab Four's albums. One of the things I find most impressive about The Owls is that a barely-heard-of indie band from Minneapolis can record songs that are as tightly produced as those by one of the most popular and well-recognized bands of all time. Several of the best songs on this album, "Air" being one of them, are deceptively simple: a closer listen reveals a wall of sound.

Songwriters Allison LaBonne, Maria May and Brian Tighe all sing on the album, in addition to playing their instruments, and John Jerry has replaced Ittner on the drums. May and LaBonne's voices don't sound very distinct on first listen, but after a few repeats I began to notice how each brings something different to the album - May's voice has a vulnerable quality while LaBonne sounds more self-assured. The Owls' lyrics range from dark ("You must have misunderstood/ I'm feeling good about the bad" on "Luck" and "There is only air/where I used to care" on "Air") to fanciful ("I built a closet of timber/should have stored brooms but I lived there" on "Drop Me a Line") and manage to project hopefulness even at their gloomiest.

With only eight songs and totaling less than 25 minutes, Our Hopes and Dreams is a teaser, and I can't wait to hear more from The Owls

Natalya Minkovsky

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