Credit: John Sturdy

In 2001 mathy emo outfit Owls released their self-titled debut, a gnarly, complex record that until recently was their only full-length. In the years since, the band’s members have put out dozens of albums and EPs—with Noyes, Friend/Enemy, Make Believe, Owen, and Tim Kinsella’s main project, Joan of Arc, among others—but fanatics have continued to carry a torch for Owls, keeping the brief, spellbindingly strange Owls on repeat. (When I joined Tumblr five years ago, I got to be Internet friends with someone who repeatedly posted lyrics from “Everyone Is My Friend.”) Four years ago those folks got a glimmer of hope that Owls weren’t permanently done, in the form of the Cap’n Jazz reunion; all four members of Owls previously played in that influential band. Two years later rumors arose of a new Owls album in the works, and this March it actually appeared. Two is just as challenging as its predecessor, though much of the music is slower and heavier—”Four Works of Art . . . ,” for example, sounds like one of Lungfish’s postpunk ragas. I imagine diehard fans will burn me at the stake for saying this, but I prefer Two to the debut that earned Owls their cult following.