What do you expect from new music Ã¢â‚¬” that is, a first listen to a band recommended to you by a friend or acquaintance? I expect it to be good, certainly, but I also want it to be new. If they sound just like the six Cure albums I’ve got, I’ll probably enjoy it, but won’t listen to it much in the future because, hey, I’ve already got my beloved Cure. When I get my hands on something different and refreshing I’m far more excited. Inspector Owl is just that; it was recommended to me as a Ã¢â‚¬Å“dancey indie-rock bandÃ¢â‚¬ playing an eclectic style of music with the styles of the Faint, Polyphonic Spree, and They Might Be Giants thrown in the mix.
Sounded good to me, and after listening to the EP Life Finds a Way a few times through, it still sounds good. The opener right away caught my attention with the String Quartet (famous for their cover albums) style violin – that is, cleanly played traditional-rock parts (transposed from parts) on the violin. The band’s signature dance synth is foregrounded on Ã¢â‚¬Å“Save MeÃ¢â‚¬ while the darker Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sharks That Feed on DreamsÃ¢â‚¬ is matched by more charged lyrics. The Modest Mousey popping guitar rhythms which kick off Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Gentleman’s DuelÃ¢â‚¬ are coupled nicely with some intro horns, but not as well with the belted, Thom-Yorke-esque vocals. Heavy synth beats and a cute little riff set the potential for Ã¢â‚¬Å“Clever GirlÃ¢â‚¬ from the get-go, but again, the vocals flop what could have been a massive pop hit. The band slows it down with Ã¢â‚¬Å“Fisticuffs,Ã¢â‚¬ which unfortunately despite some soothing Ã¢â‚¬Å“ooh’sÃ¢â‚¬ and a interesting bridge, is not the most memorable closer. Overall, I’m quite pleased to have learned of this band and will continue to listen to them in the future. I will most likely remain disappointed, however, in the weak lyrics and vocals.