In Da Club: The Owls at the Kitty Cat

Maria May of The Owls
The Owls

Dovelike pop quartet the Owls was unjustly absent from this paper's best-local-2004-albums list. Let it be known that the omission wasn't deliberate and the mistake was mine. The Owls made some mistakes of their own during their opening set for Stephanie Says at the Kitty Cat Klub last Saturday. Most obviously, their passion for vernal pop harmonies can exceed their ability to execute them, at times to crippling effect. Several songs, however, came out on both feet, including Maria May's "Bury Your Mind" and Brian Tighe's "Channel," both new. After a set of sometimes precious, tea-sipping wispiness, the VU strum of "Channel" was a sort of tonic. Still, the Owls' delicacy is remarkably sincere, often lovely. On "Air," their slightly disheveled harmonies created a neat chorus effect. May gamely sang lead through a cold, her cracked delivery as forlorn as tears shed in a bus shelter, at 2:00 a.m. "Air" was further enhanced by Tighe's spongy bass playing, especially the song's upper-neck riff, of a type heard earlier on Queen's "Under Pressure." When playing a song called "Air," it's best to make it heavenly, and so they did.

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