Album Review: eagleowl


eagleowl -‘This Silent Year’ (Fence)

It feels like this has been a long time coming. eagleowl formed back in 2005, and in that time, their recorded output has amounted to two EPs and one single. But as a cliche-speaker will tell you, it’s quality not quantity, and there’s been an ever-growing number of us who have been waiting for This Silent Year.

Listening to this album, I tried to explain to my wife -who likes them, too – why I think eagleowl are so special. In some ways, when I heard their Into The Fold EP in 2010, its’ sheer completeness was overwhelming. In some ways, it was the final piece of the jigsaw falling into place; that if I couldn’t write songs like this, it was best to leave it to the experts. Bart Owl, his trusty sidekicks double bassist Clarissa Cheong and violinist Malcolm Benzie (and an ever-expanding band) on delivering this album -finally!- prove most definitely that they are the experts.

If eagleowl have their detractors (fools!) who argue that they simply follow the path of Low and (Smog), then those detractors miss the point. Because the gestation of this record has produced a record that sees them spreading their, umm, wings musically further than ever before. ‘Summerschool’ opens with feedback, yet progresses into a song that sounds more alt-country than anything they have produced so far. There’s collaboration with Woodpigeon on the appropriately entitled ‘eagleowl vs. woodpigeon’ (not to be confused with ‘Woodpigeon vs. eagleowl’ on Woodpigeon’s Die Stadt Muzikanten). It sounds like eagleowl and it’s as good as a debut as we had hoped for. And there’s even the most gentle of profane humour on ‘It’s So Funny’ which manages to mock Cliff Richard (you’ll have to listen to the track to find out why).

So. We’d love a sophomore album, folks, but in your own time…


This Silent Year is released on Fence on May 13.

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