Barn Owl - Lost In The Glare
Barn Owl are always good for making things witchy, and never more so than on their latest. Coming on the heels of an EP that I thought might set their standard "Shadowland," released earlier this year, also on Thrill Jockey), "Lost in the Glare" surprises and surpasses. They've kicked up the volume, extended the drone, and, with the addition of the Farfisa, added some garage touches that keeps the tracks grounded in reality as they set off for the stars.
The massive opener, "Pale Star," is hard to top, and top-volume, distorted build up of huge sustained chords and haunting atmospherics. A clear highlight in theirs, or anyone's, catalog. But the rest of the record seeks its own peaks as well. The Eastern-inflected "Turiya" throbs with ceremonial juju; "The Darkest Night Since 1683" borrows from noise and end of song feedback (ala Neil Young), before revealing an icy, expansive ambient center. The two part "devotion" and "Light Echoes" also use Eastern drone modes, but it is the dual guitar interplay that gives these songs their meditative, often ecstatic power.
Barn Owl are a quiet treasure, their instrumental vision growing more confident and essential with each release. "Lost in the Glare" is brilliant, heroic even, and it both rocks and comforts in ways few bands can pull off successfully.
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