Weird Owl’s sophomore release on TeePee Records, Build Your Beast A Fire, finds the New York City five-piece in a similarly altered state of mind as its 2009 debut, Ever the Silver Cord Be Loosed, but the band has taken a decidedly different path to get there.
After initially recording basic tracks at Verdant Studio in Vermont with Justin Pizzoferrato (Dinosaur Jr., Witch, Sonic Youth), Weird Owl did the majority of the album’s tracking and the entirety of its mixing at The Drawing Room in Kingston, NY with Bishop Allen’s Justin Rice.
With a focus on tighter songwriting and arranging, BYBAF boasts a much more concise and melodic approach to the band’s signature take on the inner-to-outer-space psychedelic continuum. The acid-tinged mysticism of the 13th Floor Elevators that was once channeled through the ragged stomp of Crazy Horse is now given life through a voice closer to the odd clarity of mid-era Pink Floyd mixed with the synthesized textures of The Flaming Lips.
Whereas the open and wandering passages of ETSCBL lent themselves to continual geographical extrapolations targeted at the canyons and painted mesas of the Southwest, the lush and churning sounds found on BYBAF are much more suited to the dense vegetation of a forested region. However, it remains clear that Weird Owl moves through its environment with one eye on the decay of the undergrowth and one eye on the starry heavens above, for as much as BYBAF seems at home in the seeds, roots and canopy of the forest, it also appears to be just as comfortable far beyond in the infinite swaths of interstellar space. While this might sound as if the band has found safety in the innocuous niche of nature-doting hippiedom, the likes of which will crank out driftwood sculpture and macramé owls unto the end of time, Weird Owl’s implicit acknowledgement that the forest in which it dwells is also inhabited by The Beast invokes a mysterious darkness and quasi-sinister force into the proceedings.
So ready your supplies--packing telescope, compass and microscope—and head directly for the innermost reaches of the forest. The trees will serve as speakers and the vines will rasp out a melody as they curl through your hair: “Build Your Beast A Fire!”
Weird Owl is:
John Cassidy—keyboard, synth
Kenneth Cook—bass, keyboard, synth, back-up vocals
Sean Reynolds—drums, percussion
Trevor Tyrrell—vocals, guitar