May 30, 2024

Thus Owls is back with their seventh project. The married duo of Erika and Simon Angell, originally from Sweden and based out of Montreal, have been set to prove just how far their combination of jazz, improv and alternative indie could persevere project upon project.

With ‘Who Would Hold You If The Sky Betrayed Us?’ they aspire to bring another whirlwind of continuous sound in 66 minutes, but does the project achieve its themes of ‘active interconnection’ and aspirations ‘to invent a startling musical language?’

While the duo may have created a new sound, like most new creations, it tends to lack polish, execution and cohesiveness. 

The weakest links of the album are the improvisation and the vocals, sometimes both at the same time. The trumpets on the track “Who Would Hold You” sound as if a disc to the Pulp Fiction soundtrack got scratched, leaving it as an uneven mess of dying instruments.

For every filler or borderline aimless track, there are promising and powerful emotional ones to take their place. 

‘Perfectly Younger’ and ‘Bouncy Castle’, while serving as excellent closing tracks, also stand out for both their structure and vocal performances, as these tracks show a rare harmony between the instrumental and the vocals.

If the album earned moments of improvisational wonder and exploration, it would be easier to stomach, but the wandering instead falls a bit flat. Overall, this album is a 5/10 for me. 

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