Nov 15, 2011

From members of Detroit rock and roll band The Go comes Conspiracy Of Owls (whose name comes from a Bob Pollard tune. And Bob Pollard even contributes the artwork on the insert!). Conspiracy Of Owls is an odd bird to describe. Along with Still Flyin’, these guys put together some of the slickest and smoothest, the most incredibly brilliant and expertly played music and, flawless, crisp, clear production that will largely fall on deaf punk and indie ears trained to eschew the kind of music that your square parents listen to. In short, this is yacht rock as shit. And, even better, this appears to be completely genuine, as opposed to another bit of pop culture scorched earth that is ironic hipsterdom. Listening to the record is like taking a trip on a time warp with a treasure map of ‘60s and ‘70s sounds as your navigational device. The songs on the record are quite varied with sprinklings of glam, psychedelia, sunshine pop, and the smooth sounds of ‘70s California: the kind that your white wine drinking, Op corduroy short shorts and mustache-wearing dads listened to so they could score with your moms. Give it a listen and you’ll hear T. Rex, David Bowie, maybe some early Alice Cooper. But what will be troublesome to many is that in addition to trips to the usual, universally cool stops, you’ll find yourself having to face the kind of music that for decades has polluted the airwaves and become an omnipresent part of the backgrounds of our lives: Steely Dan while you’re on hold on the phone; Seals and Crofts when you’re grocery shopping; Boz Scaggs while riding an elevator. Those folks symbolized, to many, the death of the idealistic ‘60s and the adventuresome music that came along with it, and replaced it with musical crass commercialism: studio pros trained to make pop hits. But, as Warhol took the innocuous soup can, took it off a shelf and put it on to canvas to show the art of commerce and the uniqueness of the ubiquitous, Conspiracy Of Owls strips those sounds to its essence in this reclamation project: harmonized vocals, intricate layers of guitars and synths, accessory percussion and horns. All those things together create what is a masterful record of balance: both rock and roll weirdness and smooth jams, both instantly accessible to some listeners and incredibly challenging to others. And it is, lastly, fantastically rewarding to all willing to give it a chance.

 –Jeff Proctor (Burger)

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