Disc tip: "Owel"

Owel

One hopes the name of this band isn't a calculatedly "clever" stunt wherein they left off a consonant when trying to spell "vowel" because that would be, like, hilarious. After all, stuff like that happens with these Manhattan/New Jersey rock kids - although I'd be more worried if they were from Brooklyn and, more importantly, if they weren't really great. The atmospheric and melodic antecedants are pretty clear (Radiohead and Sigur Ros) and even not so clear (Gazpacho, Anathema, Leaves), but the Owel people have also turned in a consistently fine and listenable record of gorgeous, icy, thinking person's pop.

- RICK KOSTER

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