Turning Rocks, the upcoming full-length by Montreal-Stockholm band Thus Owls, which has crossed music borders. The husband-wife team of Simon and Erika Angell bring together a high-concept element in a way that coheres intricately on Turning Rocks; a heady balance between warm instrumentation and a stylish veneer. Thematically,Turning Rocks conveys a sense of nostalgia and patiently dramatic moods, inspired by Erika’s childhood home: a small house in her family for generations, in a tiny village on Orust—an island in Sweden just north of Gothenburg. The story goes that: the process began with true stories that Erika’s grandmother told her about people and events from her own youth with each song on the record drawing inspiration from a different human life somehow connected to the place.
Opening track “As Long As We Try A Little” is the pick of the album. A slow piano backs the grief stricken voice of Erika Angell and gives it space to develop as the song grows. The superb emotional delivery tells of a singer who is living the song and not merely performing it. The track, “Ropes”, combines wailing vocals with guitar melodies and several synths to good effect, while building up to an intense crescendo. Then in the inverse, “Smoke Like Birds” opens delicately, the slow and lower pitched vocals quite lovely before the song builds.
What I love about this album is that it has this subtle intensity, softness, and passion- there’s this maturity about it that makes Thus Owl’s Turning Rocks stand out from all the other indie bands in the industry. That being said, this album is not one of those albums you would want to listen to in the background, this is a tea and lazy chair kind of album.