I’m sure that when I previously reviewed one of the BRONTOSAURUS CHORUS releases (EP) I was all over it like the clichéd rash. However, I going to temper my enthusiasm this time around regards the band’s first full length offering and in doing so I realise I’m in the minority of one!
No question, this is undoubtedly a classy album. It’s ‘different’ which I like; the vocals by Jodie Lowther are enchanting and enthralling, and the ‘concept’ of ‘life and death in all its guises’ is interesting – both celebratory and mournful. BUT in producing such a ‘credible’ album I think the eight-piece have ended up sounding too serious – austere almost. There doesn’t sound like there’s a lot of ‘fun’ within the forty-two minutes. Not for the listener at least.
The ‘trademark’ sound of BRONTOSAURUS CHORUS is its orchestration, mixing guitars etc with a brass section and augmenting it all with some strings. It certainly produces a full sound, but I feel that the dependency on the horns make them sound a little too much like a Northern Colliery Band on speed. It works well with me for a while, but soon wears thin.
For me, the best track on the album is ‘One Great Mind’ which really rocks along with dual male / female vocals …. and the horns and strings being used only to add the ‘hook’ and not given such prominence as in other tracks. They are more subtle, is what I’m saying.
There are however, several other songs that do retain the interest: ‘Annie’s Waltz’ for instance has a waltzing theme (duh!) and creates the impression of a toy, clockwork musical box opening to reveal a miniature dancer pirouetting and spinning in time to the music. ‘…And You Dance’ is pretty downbeat – again with a waltzing refrain – and even though the vocals at times sound like the dreaded Cyndi Lauper (‘True Colours’) it is the type of song that will inevitably draw you in whether you like it or not.
I’m not going to say anything else. ‘Owls’ is one of those albums that could pop up as the surprise nomination for a Mercury Music Prize or the like. It’s that type of album, really, and there’s always one, isn’t there?
I feel a little guilty that I don’t like this any more than I have indicated, but each to their own, eh?
(Released through PopArt London on 13th December 2010)