General Information & Media
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...There, by the heat of a wood stove, they became Breathe Owl Breathe and honed their sound—a wild rumpus of harmony and rhythm—and named their debut after its birthplace. While some peers have reveled in reinvigorating the old, weird side of Americana, the band’s flare for pop-addled melodies flips the contemporary folk aesthetic, eschewing freakiness in favor of charm. It’s a dynamic built on coupling clever arrangements with lyrical whimsy.
- Ashley Melzer, Paste Magazine, June|July 2010
...They carry the tendencies of such a natural feel and an under-the-sun mood that makes them seem like they are ready to eat, ready to handle. There are coos, the kinds of sounds we'd associate with owls - fittingly enough, and there are breaths that are turned into other outbursts that we'd be perfectly alright hearing out in the woods, surrounded by nothing but a darkness filled with all kinds of sounds whose origins are mysteriously concealed. Middaugh and Moreno-Beals spin splendidly together, yoking these achingly beautiful attitudes about the countryside dealing with the corruption of the ever-encroaching urban expansion, as well as a sense that there's something wearisome about all of the thinking about it to soft-sung words of prettiness. Middaugh sings, "She turns to me on the drive and says, "This city is alive," and he means the sighs and the groans that are heard. These are the signs of escape that seem obvious and they sound like still-life, holding its pose for us to gander at, for Breathe Owl Breathe to paint us through.
- Sean Moeller, Daytrotter, April 2010
Comprised of Micah Middaugh (guitar, vocals), Andréa Moreno-Beals (cello, vocals) and Trevor Hobbs (percussion), the Michigan trio Breathe Owl Breathe have a knack for wrapping universal emotions in childlike language. In the gorgeous, loping "Playing Dead," from their eMusic Selects EP, Ghost Glacier, a playground game slowly develops into a metaphor for longing and loneliness; "Sabertooth Tiger" is simultaneously about imaginary friends and the desire for protection. The band's music is terrifically disarming, Middaugh's cracked tenor ambling over acoustic guitars, Moreno-Beals' cello swooping in gracefully, like a warm breeze or a host of doves. It's the soundtrack to the Brothers Grimm, a lively stroll through the enchanted forest.
- J. Edward Keyes, eMusic
As Breathe Owl Breathe, Michigan trio Micah Middaugh, Andréa Moreno-Beals and Trevor Hobbs sound as intimately familiar with woods and wild as their band name suggests, but there's an air of cosmopolitan sophistication, too. Their forest-paced, guitar-and cello-grounded "Playing Dead" has the careful, modern approach to folk production of rustic post-rock ensemble Califone, and Middaugh's weary vocal also braves Palace Brothers' Southern haints. "I got you, didn't I," Middaugh repeats in harmony with Moreno-Beals, as cymbals splash across some delicate acoustic plucking. The verses reflect nostalgically on playing dead as a child by the swing set, so this chorus comes to tell everyone they're just fooling. At the same time, the joke may be getting played on us, too: "When I was alive..." Middaugh begins one line. What, is he dead? Still, like North Carolina's similarly verdant Bowerbirds, Breathe Owl Breathe keep their lyrics earnest and un-showy ("Your hair is gray...the light is black") and then bask in organic splendor. They got me, didn't they?
- Pitchfork Forkcast review of Playing Dead
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