All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review: Freak Owls - Taxidermy

Freak Owls - Taxidermy
2010, Sing Engine Records

After spending a dozen years touring with various acts, Brooklynite Josh Ricchio decided to go it alone. Locking himself in his room, Ricchio fell into a writing frenzy of catchy acoustic songs. When it came time to record, Ricchio called on a revolving cast of friends and colleagues. Consequently The Freak Owls were born. Their debut album, Taxidermy, crackles and sparks with a vibrancy that you can’t teach.

Taxidermy opens with “Little Things”, a wonderfully catchy acoustic tune about the minutiae that leads us from like into love. The song is filled with found and environmental sounds that add to the layered feel and fill up the space between silence and everyday life. “Little Things” is a brilliant first tune. “Hey, Na Na Na” keeps things going with an energetic if slightly surreal appeal; it’s got a great melody that’s catchy but atypical. “Paper People” is a visceral experience that is better experienced that described. As a reviewer I like it, although it’s struggle to explain why. It’s just one of those songs that grabs hold of you and won’t let go.

One of the absolutely highlights of the disc is “Seaquid”, an urgent tune full of subtle flourishes tied to an urgent acoustic arrangement. The song is highly enjoyable and is likely to get stuck in your head. Ricchio takes a left turn on “Belles”, a pretty tune that walks the thin line between mournful and hopeful and features a vocal duet that’s sonically pleasing. “Optimistic Automatic” is a catchy tune that will stick with you, and “Online (And In Love)” has a sonically full arrangement tinged with great harmonies. Freak Owls take a more ambient folk turn on “Place To Be” and continue on into the aether with “Can You Feel It (Patience Officer)”. These final two songs seem to be tangential to the rest of the album, and might be a tough turn for some listeners to swallow, but are solid compositions in their own rights.

Taxidermy is an example of what can happen when an established artist breaks the mold they’re used to working in. When expectations and old habits are stripped away, sometimes magic happens. Josh Ricchio finds his share of magic on Taxidermy, and his band of brothers, the Freak Owls, have a lot of fun creating a highly controlled brand of mayhem that you’ll be appreciating for some time to come.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Freak Owls at or Taxidermy is available as either a CD or Download from

No comments: