With their time split between London and Glasgow, Owls of Now are a four-piece indie-pop band with an excellent back story.
“Go back 12 years, Melbournian drummer Kate and singer/guitarist J. Bell meet while organising a women’s music festival in Glasgow. Kate goes on to star as a dandy zombie in a queer DIY short film J. Bell wrangles. Meanwhile, singer/guitarist Caz tours the world playing cello with Mogwai. A little later, she and J. Bell meet through an ad for a drummer. Bass-player Vicky joins the gang following a game of atypical darts in Moorgate”.
We have so many questions: how did Caz end up playing cello with Mogwai? What’s atypical darts? Where can we see a queer DIY short film that features a dandy zombie? Sadly the band’s new EP, Episode 4, doesn’t offer any answers to any of our questions, thankfully though, it does contain four excellently energetic slices of nicely shambolic noisy-pop brilliance.
Opening track Lead Singer sets the tone; steady drums tick by, as guitars flick from propulsive to shuffling, and the vocals drift from tuneful harmonies to frenetic yelling. The production might not exactly sounds professional, more no-fi than lo-fi, yet it’s unquestionably charming, leaving all the energy, rough-edges and personality perfectly intact. Like The Just Joans or Magnetic Fields, they have an almost nostalgic feel, harking back to a golden age of truly independent indie.
Elsewhere, Powers ups the tunefulness to recall Expert Alterations or Rainbow Reservoir, while Creature has a sludgy, danceable charm, like the middle ground of Crumbs and Nervous Twitch. It’s left to the, almost anthemic, Peg (We Rise From The Lake), and it’s by indie-pop standards epic run-time of over five-and-a-half minutes to bring proceedings to close. From a downbeat opening, all fuzzy Jesus And Mary Chain-like bass, the track gently builds for nearly two minutes, before bursting into a Riot-Grrrl inspired call and response, scream-along, “you want to take me down a peg or two? She’s going to tell you what to do. You want to take away my power? She’s not going to give it to you”. The whole thing breaks down and comes back as a choral sing-along, their voices together, a united front, full of emotion, rage and injustice.
Discussing their reasons for being in a band, Owls of Now, aren’t afraid to admit they haven’t got it all figured out yet, and that’s okay. When you can come together, sing-along, offer honesty, perfect imperfection, and have a reason to escape the daily grind and embrace the joys of hanging out with your best friends, who needs any more purpose than that? There’s no commercial break-through here, and that’s okay, this is music, and it’s much more important than that.
Episode 4 is out today via For The Sake Of Tapes. Click HERE for more information on Owls Of Now, including their show at the Old Hairdressers in Glasgow on Friday.