This six song debut CD represents an important stage in the three-year existence of the Glass Owls, as a first chance to commit to record some songs that have been well tried and tested in this Howick-based groups extensive gigging history.
The opening song 'Griffin Boy' wears is influences too clearly on its sleeve with heavy nods towards Julian Casablanca’s vocal style and the instrumentation and feel of Franz Ferdinand. This, frankly, doesn’t bode well, but from here things improve and the Owls reveal more of their own style which includes jaunty guitar strut and a clever ability to jump dynamics, feel and tempo to great effect. 'No Avail' and 'Nothing Personal' benefit strongly from this approach, and as a result have charm and appeal.
High points are the last two songs 'Sarah' and 'Summer Girl' where the group begin to transcend their influences rather than mimic them, What comes across in these two songs are a sense of groove, passion, and even fun. Clearly this would be a band to experience live.
The production has a few hiccups, with an overpowering guitar sound on 'Summer Girl', and a muddy drum sound, which does detract a little from an energetic percussive performance, especially in the louder moments.
This is a group ready to make its move - 'Dead Love' outlines a sound that is clearly defined and nearly refined.
For Glass Owls, a reputation as a great live act without a record is finally set to change on June 21st with the release of their debut EP, “Dead Love”. Cameron Allan (Drums), Christopher Pearce (Bass), Anthony Metcalf (Lyrics and Guitar) and Tomas Nelson (Lyrics and Vocals) will be thrilled with what they have accomplished. It’s been a long wait but the six songs on the record are sure to satisfy their fans and all lovers of intelligent, hook laden kiwi pop.
Produced by up and coming whiz kid Dave Parker, “Dead Love” is a collection of their very best songs and suggests a band that is wise beyond their years. The songs are provided with much more depth than the already stellar versions which have delighted audiences. “Griffin Boy” is a dirty guttural track in the vein of classic garage rock, “I’ll Be Waiting”, a soaring anthem with beatific harmonies. “No Avail”, the debut single, is a blistering ode to unrequited love, “Nothing Personal (Just You)” contains some formidable guitar work from Metcalf and an impassioned vocal from Nelson. “Sarah” is their most well known song and sounds better than ever here with one of the great clarinet induced changes in music well preserved and, finally, “Summer Girl” is a romantic love letter flipped on its head with some timely feedback. These six songs all deserve a place in the New Zealand music canon and may just be there in a few years, fighting for space with “Not Given Lightly” and “Give it a Whirl”.
It could be argued that Glass Owls are one of the hardest working bands in the country. Formed in Howick, Auckland in 2007 as “Three Kings” (later “The Collection” before landing on their current name), they have been tirelessly touring ever since at venues as diverse as Cassette 9, Juice Bar, The Kings Arms, Rising Sun, The Dog’s Bollix, New Zealand Fashion Week 2009, Barnstock and The Wine Cellar. They have also appeared on 95bFM’s Fancy New Band Show and Balcony TV. In 2009, they recorded an extremely popular Red Bull Live Studio Session and their song “Sarah” was featured on Remix Magazine’s “Indie Remix CD”. It is their catchy tunes and energetic live shows which have allowed them to carve a name for themselves in the extremely competitive Auckland music scene. The lineup has remained unchanged in all positions with the exception of their drummer. Fans need not fear however as Allan appears to be in it for the long haul.