[Album Review] Thus Owls- Turning Rocks
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by Tiana Feng


Release Date: April 8th, 2014
Label: Secret City Records
In my interview with Thus Owls, Simon Angell spoke of how Turning Rocks came together, like a scrapbook, gathering inspiration from different art forms.

The result is its own piece of art, an unconventional folk album full of experimentation, but a tad less than 2009’s Harbours. Erika’s powerful and striking vocals may seem like the star of the show, but Simon is a founding member of Patrick Watson’s band so the instrumentation is emotionally striking, goosebump inducing. It knows when to be minima and restrained, like the beginning of “As Long As We Try A Little”, and when to grow.  Other times, it’s louder and quicker moving (“How in My Bones”).

My personal favourite is “Bloody War”, frantic and unpredictable, grounded by the recurring “ooo”s. Lyrically, the album is inspired by Erika’s childhood in Sweden and her grandmother’s experiences in the Second World War. You can even hear what sounds like scared heartbeats in “A Windful of Screams.” The only duet on Turning Rocks is the closer “Thief” which features Taylor Kirk from Timber Timbre, who is the perfect choice for this sombre beauty.

When we spoke to Thus Owls, they explained that the title track speaks of metaphorical rocks, opening new doors to see if they have any effect on your current life. Instrumentally, they capture the uncertainty such an event would cause. This is a thing they seem to master, matching the arrangement with mood created by the subject matter. If you listen passively, you may miss these subtleties but they are what make Turning Rocks a mature emotional listen.