The Appleseed Cast

Low Level Owl, Vol. 1

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AllMusic Review by

If one stands back from the mayhem of life around them and will honestly realize what has been done on volume one of Low Level Owl, they will be floored. Here is a band who has, for the most part, orchestrated a symphonic masterpiece and glides effortlessly from one track into another. Odd for the average indie rock fan? Perhaps. Unapproachable? Hardly. Ambience and environment are the keys here. Through a number of experiments and hard work, the band has made a piece that is truly larger than what many people may be able to appreciate. A few drawbacks of the album, however, are to be noted. While the drumming is nothing short of superb, much of the guitar work seems trivial and uncreative. It almost borders on the needlessly repetitive, which leads to another point: It seems as though many of these tracks are almost used as filler. Three minutes of drums played backward is interesting for about the first 30 seconds. After that, it's kind of pointless unless it's integrated into some sort of song. Therefore, out of the 14 tracks, one can see that quite a few of these might possibly be tossed, although the final piece, "View of a Burning City," is hypnotically hallucinating in its drone. Regardless of the few drawbacks, the more this is played, the more there is to find to enjoy. The setting and time put into such a work shows how the whole is easily a sum of its parts. This is definitely not an album to be picked apart song by song. In fact, it seems a shame that both volumes weren't released at the same time. While it might take a while for a listener to realize the full implications of what Appleseed Cast has done here, at the least it's no worse than Mare Vitalis, which was a quality album. At its best, Appleseed Cast might be America's closest answer to Radiohead.

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