When I initially listened to the title track off of Thus Owls’ new EP, I was chilled to the core. The unsettling chords that were played at seemingly random intervals did not complement the intense drumming pattern beneath them. Worried that I would have to write a bad review for the Montreal-based band, my anxious attitude was completely shifted once Erika Angell’s angelic voice broke out. Confident that I was going to be involved in something completely original, Thus Owls provided a new perspective on approaching music that thoroughly impressed me.
Erika’s soothing voice creates a suspenseful tone that carries throughout the EP’s eerie tracks. Clear and welcoming, instead of forming a hopeful vibe for the audience, her voice acts as a spine-tingling catalyst between the at times intense drum rhythms and harsh synthesisers. Black Matter flows throughout multiple emotions during its run time. Bubbly one minute and threatening the next, Black Matter is an album that will keep you on your toes. Being an album that will most likely have a love-hate relationship with its audience, Thus Owls have released a musical experience that is an eventful ride, despite what the final verdict says.
With unapologetic melodies and sound choices, Black Matter will probably be too weird for most of its new listeners. Sounding more similar to a science fiction soundtrack than a hit music chart topper, Black Matter is by far the weirdest album I have heard in a very long time. That being said, I really enjoyed listening to it. Having listened to their music non-stop for the past week, I experienced many different emotions towards it. Fearful at first, it took a few repeated listenings until I began to embrace it.
There is a monumental amount of potential in Thus Owls. With a few minor edits, chord changes and a slight shift in mood, Thus Owls would be in the alternative mainstream quicker than you could say “Florence + the Machine”, although I would prefer that they wouldn’t. Thus Owls should stay true to themselves as a band and continue to bring complex, puzzle-like pieces of music to its listeners.
Similar to artists such as the previously mentioned Florence + the Machine, MS MR and even Lorde, Thus Owls is a group that deserves to be recognized by a wider spectrum of listeners.