Weird Owl - Ever the Silver Cord Be Loosed –
And you were just wondering who could be relied on to keep bringing the FREAKY? Well seek no further Pilgrim! Your quest is fulfilled! Come shake your medicine rattle, burn your herbs and grab hold of the mighty wings of Weird Owl…Time to take flight!
Although this Brooklyn band has an EP out, this disc is their first full release proper and it’s an all around delight. Glorious swirls of sound punch and tug at your head with alternating moments of Crazy Horse fury and exotic, opium den ambience. Layered and pulsing song structures hypnotize and enchant with stories of astral travel, mountains growing out of the living room floor and spiritual memories of Native American genocide. Listening to the disc you’ll catch glimpses of Captain Beefheart blowing his crazy Skeleton Breath and hear strains of Buffalo Springfield mourning the Broken Arrow. Singer Trevor Tyrell accomplishes an amazing vocal feat by channeling the cadence and intonation of a Powwow drum singer while remaining melodic and in tune. His voice and the mysto-steam approach of the band remind me at times of Jeffrey Lee Pierce and the late, great Gun Club. There is the same shamanic intensity and slight hint of decadence permeating the proceedings here. I’m thinking specifically of the GC’s album “Fire of Love” with its’ Santeria/Botanica shop window display songs like “Jack on Fire”. It’s not at all a retro trip here though. Rather these songs and the themes that inform them come off as perennial and somehow out of any timeline whatsoever.
The playing on this release is excellent throughout. Josh Weber’s keyboards and synth work adds flourish and depth to the otherwise straightforward (yet LOVELY!) playing of the rest of the group. The open-ended nature of these songs probably lends itself to extensive live exploration and I’m sure they are an amazing show to take in. Stand out tracks include the channeled from a Little Bighorn/Wounded Knee battlefield, “13 Arrows, 13 Stars”. The soul melting exploration of other realms, “Mind Mountain” and twisted “Hey, Hey, Hey! and Hi, Hi, Hi!” driven scorcher “Tobin’s Spirit Guide”. The goods don’t end there though. Every track on this disc offers an opportunity to take an aural/mental trip the equivalent of Jodorowsky’s, “The Holy Mountain” and “El Topo”.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and declare Weird Owl’s new release, “Ever The Silver Cord Be Loosed” as one of the best records of the year or the next. Yes, it’s that good! It’s rare to hear a genuinely unique voice in music these days and Weird Owl deliver that in spades. By being both otherworldly and extremely listenable it is indeed something new under the sun. Wild crashing guitar chords stutter and shimmer into being while the rest of the calliope gallops forward with a lovely frayed charm. If cornered by a gang of wild music critic thugs and forced to “categorize” this music I’d say it belongs to same self-made visionary freak school as the art made by Outsiders such as Simon Rodia, Antoni Gaudi, Don Van Vliet, Neil Young, Jeffrey Lee Pierce and maybe a dash of The Marx Brothers.