When most bands raid the coffers of '60s and '70s music, they go in for the Nuggets thing, or hard rock, or the Beatles or the Velvet Underground. Night Owl (due on Thursday, March 11, at Old Curtis Street) didn't really do that. Instead, it followed in the footsteps of the Style Council and Orange Juice by embracing the classic and captivating sounds embodied by acts on the Motown and Stax labels. In another era, someone might have referred to Night Owl as a "blue-eyed soul" band. Fact is, though, there are plenty of modern flourishes in this quintet's palette to distinguish it from being yet another group of retro-fetishists. If anything, the group is refreshingly uncluttered and upliftingly tuneful. Night Owl knows how to use the dynamics of space inside a song with the subtlety and grace of its namesake.
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