A fantastic folk-pop record with its biggest fault being it’s only five songs.
Sometimes, the finest things are right under your nose. I was given a link to a Wake Owl track with a casual, “Hey -- you might dig this.” I checked it out and moments after I heard the first maple-sweet refrain of, “If I wanna leave I will / Stand on my feet, I do / Only takes these words, you / Never believe are true” I pressed stop and went and paid cash for the EP. I know you’re probably thinking that’s how it should work, but let’s be honest -- in 2013 it’s a bigger statement than it used to be.
“Wild Country” is so radio-pop friendly that it leaves you wondering how the rest of the record can possibly measure up yet “You’ll Never Go” maintains a thoughtful simplicity. I regret that I must mention “Mumford & Sons” in these few words, but because they are dominating the charts in the same year, it only makes sense to point out that this is a far better record, pound for pound. Fans of “The Tallest Man on Earth” will also appreciate the instant comfort and familiarity these songs inspire. The instrumentation is flawlessly recorded, production is top notch and the four Vancouver troubadours seem to harness a wealth of talent for songwriting and arrangement.
“Gold” has a more anthemic feel than the two previous singles and Colyn Cameron’s high pitch feels somewhat pushed. “Grow” begins slow and low and over time gallops to a full-on foot-stomp rhythm. Finally, “Seaside” closes the record on a somewhat more melancholic note -- a love song during which Colyn’s voice seems to almost crackle with sincerity.
An EP is often launched to introduce a band to the world -- to test the market waters for their sound or just to create a demo of their sound to pass around. When that band eventually makes it big or gets signed, those EPs can disappear, their masters left to decay in a record label’s dingy archive. Don’t miss out on this one because when Wake Owl do release a full length record, I expect it will be very, very well received -- and this EP may become a lost treasure.