Owls are cool. Therefore, and I don't think I'm being unreasonable here, any band that adopts OWL as their name should be profoundly cool, too. Coming straight out of Oakland, California, the men behind "Geomancy" are very much up to the task. OWL (or, if you prefer, OVVL) have been around for more than a decade, and have two previous full-length albums under their shared, purple cummerbund. The most recent, 2014's "Screech", boasted one of the best album covers of that decade. Take a look at it. If that appeals to you, then "Geomancy" is going to blow your tiny, stoned mind.
There are times when OWL sound like a prosaic stoner rock band. There are also times when they sound like an acid-fried CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL. But in between, and very often within the same labyrinthine tune, OWL are gleefully and convincingly psychedelic. Opener "Awaken The Mountain" begins as an angular web of riffs, before mutating into a woozy, tripped-out jam. Similarly, "Runes" is all proto-metal fuzz and KING CRIMSON licks, until OWL veer off into a wild blend of doom metal and noise rock. "Jupiterean Ocean" is even more perverse, with its stop-start eccentricities and dustbowl blues denouement. "Ghost Lanes" is for those who feel that MELVINS haven't been wonky enough recently; "Minion Of The Amethyst Cave" imagines a parallel dimension where CRAZY HORSE are FRANK ZAPPA's backing band. It is all thoroughly riveting.
An hour of fervently imaginative rock 'n' roll, "Geomancy" reaches a progressive peak with "A King For Every Mountain". Thriving amid a gritty, analogue rush of ingenious riffs, OWL flex their acid rock chops, side-step into proggy detours, and spiral awkwardly towards a slightly unhinged post-rock epilogue (with THIN LIZZY trimmings). Elsewhere, the 12-minute "Shadow Of Ehe Catl" takes OWL even further out, with esoteric drones, GENESIS-like musical intersections and a yet more great riffs combining to uplifting effect.
"Geomancy" buzzes and hums with the energy of a real live performance, but OWL's ingenuity in the studio has elevated some miraculous performances into an unexpected magic carpet ride through largely unfamiliar realms. It's enough to make your head swivel all the way around. Which owls can't actually do, but you get the idea.