ALBUM REVIEW: Owls’ return worth giving a hoot about

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First Posted: 4/15/2014

2010 saw the reunion of your favorite emo band’s favorite emo band, Chicago’s Cap’n Jazz.

It was a triumphant comeback for the original lineup of Tim Kinsella, Mike Kinsella, Victor Villareal, Sam Zurick, and Davey von Bohlen, reminding longtime fans about the sheer force of their indelible, tumultuous union of passion, power, and angularity that placed them in a class entirely unto their own during their short-lived run in the mid-1990s. Needless to say, it would have been quite easy for the quintet to have capitalized on the momentum and put out a new album as Cap’n Jazz, who are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. But in the time that has passed since the reunion shows, the domestic, working class lives of its members took precedence, as it should for any responsible person with a family at home.

However, in 2014, we were surprised when news came down that four-fifths of the good Cap’n (minus von Bohlen, possibly busy working on material for the first new album from his own recently reunited band The Promise Ring in over a decade) have returned to the studio to follow-up the 2001 debut of their celebrated post-jazz outfit Owls.

And, for all intents and purposes, “Two” does not disappoint in the least. Working alongside legendary Chicago engineer Steve Albini, these 10 new songs find Villareal, Zurick and the brothers Kinsella making the heaviest, most direct statement of their careers yet without compromising the abstract bent that helped to drown their first LP in critical acclaim 13 years ago. Here, we get an older, wiser Owls, one who seems to have digested all the quirks of the current generation of Pitchfork-aping indie rockers and regurgitated it back into their selfie-snapping faces on tracks like “Why Oh Why…,” “Ancient Stars Seed…,” and “Oh No, Don’t….”

Yes, indeed; in spite of their status as elder statesman, “Two” is solid proof that Owls can still make music with enough impact to crack the skull of Noel Gallagher. Just check the cover art for proof.

Owls ‘Two’ Rating: W W W W