Owls Our Hopes and Dreams

Featuring members of the Hang Ups and the Legendary Jim Ruiz Group and sharing a record label with Tullycraft, the Owls are a band who sound exactly as you’d expect. They are so firmly entrenched in the indie pop philosophy that there is hardly anything shocking about them. They sound like a combination of That Dog and Small Factory, with both male and female voices and piano and guitar driving along their gentle, wistful songs. It turns out that it is a very good thing that there are four different songwriters on Our Hopes and Dreams because it helps to add a little bit of variety into the proceedings, but yet not quite enough to stop the mini LP from dragging during its second half. That really isn’t helped by the nauseatingly sweet "Baby Boy,” which could very well prevent listeners from hearing the last three songs. Our Hopes and Dreams is the kind of record that can drift by in the background almost unnoticed and still be a pleasant experience. But subject it to more rigorous listening and some cracks begin to emerge, such as the frightening similarities between some songs. Still, more than half of the songs really are very good and that makes it worth at least a cursory listen. (Magic Marker)