Wowser Bowser’s debut, their self-titled album out on Adair Park Recordings, shows a lot of promise for this Atlanta-based band. Wowser Bowser gives high-energy performances, which has garnered their live shows incredibly positive reviews. The complexity of the music, through layers of instruments and vocals, works to create a false sense of simplicity. Because the diversity of sounds work so well together, it’s easy to get lost in the vision: the idea that life can be simpler, and that the world can be at peace once again. Although only nine tracks, the album has an almost 40 minute run straight through. It’s the kind of album that you never ended; luckily, it can play on repeat for hours without getting too familiar.
There is a definite electronic influence on the album, and it is easy to imagine Wowser Bowser channeling Brian Eno. This is especially apparent with the instrumental interludes “Morning” and “Night,” yet the other tracks on the album incorporate this electronic feel as well, layered with more standard rock instrumentation: guitar, bass, and drums. Even those who may not enjoy strictly electronic music will find this album accessible and enjoyable.
The best songs on the album also happen to be on the longer sides, so that you can really get lost in the world of Wowser Bowser. Each at over five minutes in length, “Water Story,” “The Garden,” and “Winter Child” manage to snare even the most casual listener. “Water Story” is named appropriately: it’s like floating in a pond on a summer afternoon, with your ears just below the surface as the music blasts around you. It has a hopeful, repetitive feeling to it, such that you want to bob along rhythmically. “The Garden” has a hook that will repeat in your head for weeks because it has a “Song that Never Ends” quality to it (“I was asleep in the garden/when somebody woke me/yes, somebody woke me/ to tell me that/I was asleep in the garden…” and on and on), but unlike the Lambchop song, you won’t resent it at all. “Winter Child,” the last of the triumvirate of amazing 5+ minute songs, sounds like it should be in a climactic movie scene. It encapsulates a strong feeling of longing, that feeling of begging for someone to return. While this entire album is delightful fun, “Winter Child” reaches an emotional depth beyond the carefree instrumentation—that feeling of being left behind, but still feeling connected: “I can feel the winter/ and everything is children/ and everything, and everyone/ everyone is leaving.”
The closing track on the album, also over five minutes, is a remix that elevates Wowser Bowser’s already amazing sound to a whole new realm. “E Dialeda Ho (Countless Others Remix)” has an ethereal quality, that makes it seem like it is just outside of your reach. It cannot be overplayed, because it is impossible to truly comprehend the complex beauty of the song. It continues to amuse, and it just might be your “fiery demise.” It’s the perfect closing to an album that is as close to perfect as possible. “Wowser Bowser” will not disappoint.
Review by Catherine Perry