steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion


"At The Races" CDR

Girl In A Box Records

Genres: lo-fi, indie pop, folk-rock

email the band

May 10 - 16 2004

Make no mistake about it, Owen's At The Races is an extraordinarily lo-fi affair.  This duo, consisting of independent musicians Zachary Carroll and Kenneth Martin, is extremely dedicated to producing unique, homemade sounds.  Their main genre is definitely hometaper - due largely to the limited sound quality of their trusty four-track (hey, who's complaining?) - but their style also shows a diverse array of influences.  Folk, country, rock, and even electronic music are all tapped.

To the average listener, this release will be a somewhat daunting listen.  The songs are very lyric-based, which is a problem when the sound quality obscures much of the vocals.  As well, lots of these tunes are melodically bland and repetitive.  "The Mighty Geat," for example, has some funny lyrics, but suffers from a boring guitar part.  Owen's sonic experiments also fail to add anything of value to the mix.  The intentionally atonal "Chapter 10" is just a hokey electro/piano display, though it's fortunately short.

At The Races also features its fair share of good moments.  "Wearing A Flop" is actually a very enjoyable tune - even if its verse has a distinct similarity to a certain Coldplay tune.  "Better Days Than Then" is also a pleasant though unexciting acoustic folk-pop ditty - it would be really nice on a cute indie pop compilation.  Also nifty are the spacey "D Am7" and the clever "Rubick's Cube"

Perhaps Owen tried to put too much on this album.  Perhaps they can't distinguish between the good and the bad well enough.  Either way, this disc boasts some nice moments, but is plagued by too much filler.  Keep the melodic content high and the experimentation low next time, Owen.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 15 tracks, distributed by the band, released 2003]