Label: Almost Musique Release date: 02/03/10 Thus:Owls is a strange feat of logic. At what point does one come to such a conclusion? Their debut album however, is not missing the same context their name is. Made up of Erika Alexandersson (ex The Moth/Lonely Dear), Cecilia Persson (of prog jazz madness ‘Paavo’ pedigree) Martin Höper, Ola Hultgren (also Loney Dear), and Simon Angell. Ordinarily being no more than the sum of your parts would be damning; not so in this case, but can the Oslo based musical wanders surpass even their expectations? Cardiac Malformations begins life as a literally creaking, figuratively aching and sparse thing of beauty. On opener ‘Yellow Desert’, Alexandersson’s husky then soaring vocals give way to a entrancing fusillade of flutes and an intricately yet understated interplay of exotic instruments, thus textures. To make use of the old adage ‘less is more’, or more fittingly, ‘it’s the spaces in between the notes’, Thus:Owls seem to have clearly considered the placement of every note, every gripping break, every lone percussion hit, and it’s pitch-perfect. The result, most noticeably in ‘Eagles Coming In’, is an elegant, restrained, utterly captivating six minute exploration of dynamics, with real heart. The crescendo, rolling and affecting, seems like the most natural conclusion in the world, as though the song has been given life of its own and has grown organically into that moment.
Perhaps most impressively, though Thus:Owls are based in Sweden, they can’t and shouldn’t be compared to their peers. There are tracts of this LP that aren’t necessarily that warming, even pleasurable to listen to, but it’s clearly a conscious decision. It’s potentially due to their part-jazz heritage; the awkward cadences and unsettling harmonies that tense you up only to unfurl in a liberating exhalation. This is not a record you will feel ownership of, it’s one you’re cordially invited to enter into for fifty-five minutes. Photobucket