Pullman’s Yarn Owl is like a nice young gentleman – the kind you’d bring home to meet mom: clean cut, well read, gainfully employed. You know Yarn Owl is not going to leave you for the hot new secretary or blow all your savings on a weekend trip to Vegas.
The group’s latest effort, Tiny Dots (released as a limited edition cassette tape by local tape label, Leftist Nautical Antiques), is chock-full of soft coos and un-abrasive instrumentation. The crafting of each tune is compositionally spot-on, each track brimming with indie sensibilities. Javier
Suarez’s vocals are invitingly relaxed and unthreatening, matching the delicate scene his bandmates set up around him. But despite this, the album lacks a driving passion or gripping hook, allowing Tiny Dots to almost wash over the listener and fade right into the walls. Maybe the track “Without You” will elicit some calm toe tapping, but that’s about as engaging as it gets. It’s one thing to have a hushed dynamic, but it is not a good sign when you are able to make a make other soft sounding indie groups, like a Death Cab for Cutie, seem hard rocking and incredibly edgy in comparison. The group doesn’t need to dial it up to eleven, but going above four would be nice. Tiny Dots is not bad in the least; it’s just bland in the most.
If we were sensible we’d stick with Yarn Owl for being charming, reliable, and safe, but we are all craving a young spirit; untamed and wild. This is rock n roll dammit — we want to be thrilled. This is a band that is solid across the board, and yet, it’s hard to not have a wandering eye (or in this case ear) with Tiny Dots. Yarn Owl is just not sexy or exciting anymore.
DOWNLOAD: “Yarn Blues”