I usually have a blanket ban on any music that uses the term “own” as it is often used superficially. “Own the night”, “Own the club”, it’s all a bunch of shallow bullshit that amounts to nothing creatively. Yet, the name of the EP in the title obviously contradicts my otherwise airtight policy. Why you ask? Well avid Happy reader, the truth of the matter is that Sydney’s The Owls are one earnest, good time rocking band and their EP Own The Streets sees them seriously own every minute of their riff driven guitar bangers.
When straight up rock n’ roll bands are few and far between, Sydney’s The Owls are a welcome find. With a riff-tacular catalogue these boys are bound to show you a hooting good time.
Okay, let me go on record and say Own The Streets is not the greatest EP name coined in the history of rock, but I’m willing to forgive on account of how coherent and riff-tacular of an effort this EP is. But first some background on the dudes who play the tunes. The Owls formed in 2008 around lead vocalist and guitarist Josh Bailey, and have since been building their back catalogue on a foundation of blues and alternative rock, with dashes of garage rock thrown in for good measure. Think in the vein of Kingswood, Kasabian and Calling All Cars, which makes for a hooting good time.
Which leads us to this year’s Own The Streets, a six track that doesn’t concern itself with any nonsense, just a handful of rollicking guitar tunes that are the appropriate soundtrack for any good road trip. Opening track Ocean sets the tone with a gritty bass line, pounding guitars and Josh’s voice drawling over track. The change of tempos throughout the song keep things unpredictable yet fresh. Krakow isn’t as straight forward a rock song, delving a little more into funky, blues territory with inspired bass lines in the verses while the guitars let loose in the bridge. As if you didn’t need more proof of The Owls being a plain and simple rock band, Krakow is all about nights out, the girls you meet and defining yourself in the scope of this bid ole’ world. Hints of clever imagery appear in the form of “Hold me tight coz I cannot breathe“. I’d like to say I know what “You kept my magic Krakow” means, but when Josh howls that line you can’t help but sing a long regardless.
Bad Side (Electrify) boasts plenty of muscular guitars, a sound that these guys do really well. The rolling, spacious drumming keeps the track out of sludge rock territory as the vocals soar, the track a great showcase for The Owls’ versatility. Though at times I wonder if that versatility may not be in the band’s favour some times. They walk the line between so many sub-genres of rock n’ roll theres a worry that in the future they may regress into a meat and potatoes rock band. Which would be a shame as The Owls show much promise here. One can hope that they can continue to develop their craft and push the boundaries of their creativity rather than pick and mix together different influences.
If you like how The Owls sound on tape, and similarly enjoy jumping around to rock music then be sure to catch the band live. Their live performances have been reported to be nothing short of exhilarating. They only have one more show this year, and that is for JAWS tomorrow Friday 5 December at Jam Gallery in Bondi. Sharing the stage with Black Springs and art exhibitions form Dirk Kruitof and Will Eckart, it should make for a rad Friday night out. Check out all the deets in the links below.
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