Label: Secret City Records
Released: November 6, 2015
Black Matter is an overall haunting affair, but one that rises slowly from its darkness. The dirgey, ambient tones strain slightly against quiet, tribal drums in “Asleep in the Water” while electronic sequencing drifts beneath the ringing dissonance of the title track. The darkness lifts ever so slightly as the album progresses though. With an almost cabaret feel emanating from under the quiet noise of “Turn Up the Volumes,” Black Matter becomes less haunting though not quite hopeful. The album has a nervous nature, due in large part to Erika Angell’s otherworldly vocals. Just before the final track, their is a building cacaphony and the release into the soothing closer, “We Leave We Forget.” There is, in the end, a wonderful sense of resolution.
Thus Owls do not give us an easy listen. There is an ominous sense to it, but it resolves over the course the album. This is not a simple light at the end of the tunnel, but more akin to actual work required to resolve inner conflict. This difficulty gives the album a real sense of catharsis in the end.