Eagleowl are like the soundtrack to a dream.
Insulating in both tone and acoustics, the Edinburgh ensemble sprawl soft melodic sheets across a mattress of achingly pretty arrangements.
Such nocturnal reveries, however, are far from the work of slumberland fancy. Instead, the group’s beatific compositions are meticulously crafted and perfectly formed.
“I find it easier to create a certain mood or atmosphere, rather than communicate a specific idea or tell a story,” says band foreman Bart Owl. “I prefer if the listener gets a glimpse of the story behind the song and then goes on to develop that themselves - to make up their own mind - than to have everything set out in black and white.”
Despite appearances, Eagleowl are no bed-wetting lightweights. A stoic determination underpins the quartet’s tear-stained symphonies and, every once in a while, an incongruous sonic boom will bookend their mesmerising live shows.
Bart explains: “When we played at Homegame last month we finished with the most Pop song we have and filled it out with Rob Waters [The Great Bear] on harmonium, Owen Williams [Pineapple Chunks and Rob St. John] on drums, and Neil Pennycook [Meursault] on accordion. It was good fun to make a bigger noise, but I don't think it's something we'll do very often.”
A key component in the burgeoning Auld Reekie scene, Eagleowl’s reputation for resplendent soundscapes has escalated quickly. Not that Bart’s one to blow the band’s trumpet too loudly:
“I'm pretty proud of what we've done so far,” he states reticently. “I kind of assumed early on that world domination isn't really on the cards for Eagleowl. Not that the music's particularly leftfield or confrontational, but I think there's limited appeal there to a 'mainstream' audience. But I'm quite comfortable with that.”
He continues: “I've always thought it's better to have a large impact on a smaller audience - to really mean something, even if it's just to a handful of people - than be on every radio show you can, and have the whole nation tapping its feet, but never really paying attention. It’s better to be loved by one person than liked by a hundred.”
And loved they are. Previous gigs have reduced grown women to tears (in a good way, of course), while the lugs of national DJs are finally beginning to tune into to the band’s harpsichordal lullabies.
So, with their star now firmly in the ascent, what’s the best thing about being in Eagleowl: The women? The acclaim? The riders?
“Clarissa’s [Eagleowl's bassist] a really great cook. Seriously, really great," Bart claims, deadpan. “I think everything we do - rehearsal, recording, sound checks, anything - it's all scheduled around regular meals.”
Posted by Billy Hamilton