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Owl

Chants (The Vibrations in the Streets Keep Me Weak in the Knees)

(Self-released; Online Release Date: 21 Apr 2010)

Calling to mind an even sleepier Azure Ray or much less instrumentally robust Mates of State, Owl is the Halifax-based bedroom project of singer Vanessa Murnaghan and synth-programmer Matthew MacDonald (on loan from his other co-ed duo, the Superfantastics).  Opener “Morning Eyes” kicks off with some captivating Interpol-like atmospherics, but the track quickly settles into the mode that carries through the entirety of this seven-song, half-hour EP, with Murnaghan’s pallid vocals sighing ineffectually over MacDonald’s bargain-basement electronics.  While this kind of frail, shakily-constructed indie pop can be charming in the hands of performers who inject their artless compositions with the youthful enthusiasm at the heart of the genre’s best (Tilly and the Wall, for example), Owl’s melodies are every bit as wan as Murnaghan’s delivery and crushingly banal lyrics.  This is indie-pop elevator music.

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