Barn Owl – V (Thrill Jockey)
Barn Owl have always pushed the desert genre in new and unexpected directions. On their new album they add some electronica to their usual array of guitars and effects. For Louder Than War Sheryl Willis listens in to the results.
The musicians from San Francisco have recently released their latest piece of work entitled ‘V’ a six track expansion on their previous genre of ‘doom dub’ creating a pleasantly easy to listen to album with the ability to let its listener escape to places of tranquility all through the albums use of static hiss and deep bass tones. That is of course if you can really class ‘V’ as an album as it seems to resemble a slightly extended EP more so.
Despite none of ‘V’ containing any vocals this collection of work stands strong on its own accord with just the peaceful harmonies, it could even be said that adding vocals to any of these songs would just simply be a monstrosity.
Considering Barn Owl class themselves as following a certain darker path of music, ‘V’ remains a subtle and gentle album that conveys a more serene tone than anything that could usually be associated with darkness.
Perhaps the new route of ‘desert rock’ is to hold responsible after all one does link anything dessert related with more pleasantries than anything dark, cynical and depressing. Whatever the case this new ‘desert rock’ edge is one that clearly suits Barn Owl and is one that not only does them justice but has allowed them to adapt to a musical genre that is guaranteed to take them further than they’ve ever managed to venture so far.
The only other thing left to mention is how Barn Owl represents everything that can be admirable about two piece bands. As duo’s go the common criticism is that they lack something musical that larger bands seem to fill with such ease, the use of electronics on this album has meant that intricate detail has been placed into creating each layer of every track separately so that each track requires exactly the right amount of input and alas leaves nothing out for criticism.
Barn Owl will be playing extensively across the UK and the rest of Europe this Spring/Summer so if you get the chance to catch them live don’t miss out.
All words by Sheryl Willis. More work by Sheryl on Louder Than War can be found here.