Alex and Andrew Baughman are two brothers who make up Stag & Owl. The first thing I must mention is the cover art on their three-song EP entitled Piers/Peers. I’m still trying figure out if the cover art is supposed to be a tip of the hat to the film Step Brothers. If you Google image search the movie you will come across promotional pictures that are very similar.
Piers/Peers is a exceptional EP that features clean reverb laced guitar, excellent singing and inventive percussion elements. If you are looking for comparisons Grizzly Bear and Local Natives are good starting points.
The first song is “Cold and Colder.” There is really nothing to complain about on this track, it really has it all. Poetic original lyrics, dynamic crescendos, clear defined parts for each instrument and very solid production. I really do love ambiguity within song lyrics because it strays away from how we use language a good portion of time. It’s a fun exercise at least for me to pick apart lyrics and figure out what if anything the songwriter is singing about. On “Cold and Colder” the vocalist sings, “Stop an assembly line / My body has stayed behind / Behind a wall of black / You wish a thought could vandalize / So hide in the sheets / Or down in a reef / My legs are stiff / Well, hopefully they thaw.”
Next up is “Green Writing” and I loved the opening guitar as soon as I heard it. It’s a gorgeous riff that instills a sense of tranquility and nostalgia. It reminded me of some of the more subdued guitar playing you might hear from Fleet Foxes. The drum parts are tom heavy and provide an extra bed of warmth beneath the guitars. As the song progresses it gets more intense and louder but they take their time getting there. It’s subtle and not a sudden shift.
They close with “StarJuice.” Similar to the guitar riff on the previous track I immediately enjoyed the percussion on “Starjuice” which is an integral element in the song. This track isn’t as serene and tranquil as the other tracks. The song is dissonant at times and even can feel slightly ominous at points. It was a great move overall. The song doesn't veer too far from the previous tracks but establishes that the band can create a different mood and atmosphere.
Piers/Peers forms a very, very solid foundation for the two brothers. I think a lot of people will appreciate the music they offer and I don’t see many holes in their game at this point. All I can say is to keep up the good work and hopefully we will see a full length LP in the not too distant future.
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