Saturday, March 19, 2005

70. Melodious Owl - Transition EP (2005)

One of the most exciting parts of living in a larger (plus size?) city is the opportunity to participate in the local music scene. I often wish I'd been here in Minneapolis during the mid-eighties heyday of Prince and The Replacements. Though the city's music scene has never truly lost respectablitiy, it'd still be nice to be a peripherial part of such national admiration. In my opinon, one of the prime candidates to bring that back to us is Melodious Owl.

Here's the bio: The band is comprised of three members. One plays keys and saxophone. One plays guitar. One synthesizes and sings. They're all students at inner ring suburban Hopkins High School. Yes, that's right.

I saw them play about a month ago, opening for Olypmic Hopefuls, and I've gotta say, I've never before felt such a palpable excitement about an unknown band. Part of it, granted, was disbelief. These guys are in high school? How can their sound be so developed, their lead singer so assured? But novelty only gets one so far; these guys have something bigger than that, and the 7 songs on this recently-released EP are proof.

One of the reasons I think Melodious Owl has such a chance at stardom is that their music is danceable new wave, which just happens to be the current "it" sound. This may lead one to think that they are simply jumping on a bandwagon. But consider this: 1) They are not a direct clone of any of the current proponents, nor any true new wave band from the late '70s or early '80s, and 2) Lead singer Wes Statler's father is a filmmaker who worked on many of Devo's videos.

Songs like Dance Fever Revisited, Stripe, and Touch Me teem with hooks and interesting moments. Statler's vocals are reminiscent of The Cure's Robert Smith, if Robert Smith was more cocky and less mopey.

Of course, the band has some growing to do. They'll have to prove they can pull off a couple of slow numbers. And they lyrics aren't poetry. Even so, Statler rattles off bon mots like "Are you ready to do this / Are you ready to do more than kiss?" and "I'll wear you out / On the dance floor" and it's hard to resist. The band even flirts with the same sexual ambiguity that Franz Ferdinand does; but the boy they admire is not Michael, it's Andrew.

Word is that the band are nearly finished with their debut album, and just in time for graduation!. I can only hope the rest of the world catches on to their pomp and circumstance.

Grade: B+
Fave Song: Dance Fever Revisited