Owls By Nature – “The Forgotten And The Brave”
They may have a somewhat unusual name, but when we heard that Owls By Nature’s sound has been described as “Whisky fuelled folk rock anthems” then we knew we had to hear this most recent release. That was particularly true when we learnt about their live reputation of performing with frenetic energy and having a more innovative stance to rock n roll.
Opening song, “Brothers”, has an almost country punk feel to it and a sound that started us thinking about the likes of Lucero or Two Cow Garage. It’s a feel which is present on a number of the slower tracks on the album, such as “Oh Alberta”. Then “Darkness” has Springsteen’s finger prints all over it.
Overall, however, there is a more commercial punk rock sound to many of the songs. There was a day when a track like “Run” could easily have troubled the charts. The album hits a real high with the absolutely brilliant double whammy of “Little Birds” and “Dancing Girls”. We’re willing to bet that the hotly anticipated solo album from Brian Fallon could end up sounding similar to these songs. There’s the blue collar Gaslight Anthem sound but with the focus firmly on the melodies rather than the punk guitars.
The whole album is neatly balanced so that it retains your interest and makes you feel like you’re on a journey. It means you go from the pensive, heart tugging of a song like “Would” to the upbeat and catchy “So Close”.
This is a really fine release and one which is definitely ‘an album’ and not just a collection of songs. It’s not one where you should skip through songs but instead has the feel of something you should own on vinyl and give it the time it deserves. Anyone who is a fan of thoughtful punk rock with a reliance on melody rather than an anger should definitely check this out.