The SetUp / Wow, Owls! - Split [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The SetUp / Wow, Owls!

Split [7 inch] (2005)

The Perpetual Motion Machine

Wow, Owls! definitely came out of nowhere with their debut full-length this past year, Pick Your Patterns, to remind everyone -- or at least a fair handful -- what screamo actually is (a consistently unterrible genre, really), and what it can actually convey (raw emotion in short, anti-theatrical bursts). So needless to say, I was pretty stoked to hear of the occurrence of more material from the Richmond, VA-based act. It's delivered here in a stylishly packaged, colored and imbalanced split 7" between themselves and metallic hardcore act the SetUp.

The SetUp begin things with a track of just that: metallic hardcore. It's intense, mostly uptempo and with two vocalists, and without too many of the clichés of their groan-worthy peers. The scarce guitar squeals aren't too obnoxious, though the breakdown is drawn out a bit much. It's defintively passionate for its style, and not a bad offering overall.

Wow, Owls! is likely to seem rather wimpy in comparison, but really do offer the same amounts of melody as seen through that rough kaleidoscope. While the anguished, almost spoken word-like singing is still prevalent in their two offerings here, things are definitely a bit less cacophonous than on the full-length, in fact feeling a little more "epic" even while they tumble through the same level of raw production featured on that other album in question. Thusly, they definitely warrant repeat listens to grow on the listener, but once they do, it's an enjoyable post-hardcore pair. "Hissy Fits and Temper Tantrums" is notable for its few "disenchanted youth"-like gang shouts and more laid back, thoughtful "breakdown" (I say that with quotes because it resonates wistfully rather than ferociously), and "Cole Hutchinson 1982-2002" is a paranoid number with its key line of "slip into delirium," even though its intro clearly rips off that of the band's own "Your New Favorite Song" from PYP, though it transitions into much calmer territory on the split.

Overall, this is a pretty cool visual and aural package. Granted it may take more time to flip the thing than it will to play through -- as do most splits -- and admittedly, the featured band's better songs are found on their full-length, but hey, "pretty good" is no condemnation, right?