On Weird Owl’s fine 2009 debut, Ever The Silver Cord Be Loosed, the Brooklyn stoner-rock outfit drifted through a fog of rumbling guitars, celestial keyboards, and cascading drum rolls like a lost spaceship wondrously wandering through the interstellar hinterland. On the new Build Your Beast A Fire, that ship has improved navigation, giving the band’s psychedelic explorations a newfound sense of purpose. Where Silver Cord occasionally lost the plot with long songs that overstayed their welcome, Build Your Beast A Fire is tighter and more melodic, with most of the tracks checking out around the four-minute mark. It’s a crucial modification, as Weird Owl is able to pack the same amount of power into smaller packages.
Taking its cues from Hawkwind, early Pink Floyd, and Deep Purple’s “Space Truckin’,” Weird Owl is still out to create the great lost classic-rock album. But adding a pinch of pop to the mix has worked wonders for the overall formula. Beautiful mini-epics like “Skin The Dawn” and “Straj Proj” are emotionally engaging and frequently moving; they’re also catchy earworms with great choruses. The same goes for harder-hitting tracks like “Two-Headed Brother” and the ass-kicking two-part title track, which find Weird Owl gently upping the tempo from its typically contemplative pace. Once pleasantly adrift, Weird Owl is now headed firmly in an exciting direction.