20130508 071045

eagleowl – this silent year (Fence Records)

Never ones to rush something when they can take their time, eagleowl (they prefer all lower case) have taken close to eight years to put together their debut album this silent year. That said, they could never be tarred as work-shy, with all six members either having solo careers of their own and/ or collaborating with the likes of Pictish Trail, Withered Hand or Woodpigeon as well. Originally two, Bartholomew Owl (guitar, vocals) and Malcolm Benzie (violin, guitar, vocals) became three, Clarissa Cheong (double bass, vocals). Which in turn became six, Rob St. John (organ, harmonium, vocals), Hannah Shepherd (cello) and Owen Williams (drums).

this silent year is a finely crafted collection, beautifully understated and restrained for the most, with a few hints here and there that the band are teasing and teetering deliberately on the edge. not over ends with thirty-odd seconds of white-noise build up leading you to believe its all about to kick off, before instead stopping dead. The band originally started out with a folkier sound than this album might suggest and it’s fair to say many of the tracks here have more in common with Nirvana Unplugged perhaps than folk. Repetition of lines such as “is this not what you wanted?” on the second track eagleowl vs. woodpigeon give a genuine sense of the confusion to the narrative as well as driving home the emotions in other places.

The albums highlight without doubt comes in the shape of the twelve minute epic too late in the day. Reminiscent of Sigur Rós, with crashing symbols and fiddle, breaking into crunchy overdriven guitars; this track lets them fully turn loose like they threaten to do so often. Some things are worth waiting for.


this silent year is released 13th May 2013


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.