Death & Vanilla - California Owls EP - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Death & Vanilla - California Owls EP

by Jeff Penczak Rating:6 Release Date:2015-08-21

Three months on from their brilliant To Where the Wild Things Are, the atmospheric Swedish trio return with this four-track, 12" EP, pairing a couple of winners off the parent album with two non-LP b-sides. The lead single is an angelic pop romance akin to Elefant’s stable of dreamy sweethearts (particularly The Yearning and The Magic Theatre), floating heavenward on a tinkling keyboard motif and Marleen Nilsson’s airy, Julee Cruise-like vocals (hope David Lynch is reading this, for these owls are clearly not what they seem!)

Also off the LP, ‘Follow the Light’ offers another relaxing divertissement with acoustic guitars, giddy keyboards, and bubbly synths dancing around Nilsson’s breathy vocals. Unfortunately, we’re cheated out of a real song by the 52-second ‘Erte’, a bunch of bleeps and bloops that sound like they were rescued form the cutting-room floor. They should have stayed there. The other newbie is the eerie ‘Reality From Dream’, with crackling sound effects, ghostly keyboards, and a forlorn, faraway vocal. They’ve always been up front about their love of soundtrack music and this one is tailor-made for a Guy Madden or Roman Polanski film, with Nilsson replicating the spine-tingling impact of Mia Farrow’s ‘Lullabye’ from Rosemary’s Baby.

If we could get a real song to replace the table scraps of ‘Erté’, we’d have another gem; as is, it could use a little more mustard. Otherwise, stick with the album and give this a pass.


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