Oregon and Vermont weren’t the sunniest of times during the writing and recording process of this album. But it doesn’t really matter. What’s wrong with a little sadness especially when it has as much character as Abodes of Owls. Admittedly, it’s a break-up album, but also or in place of, it’s a collection of feelings attached to the severance of comfort and the changing of tides in one’s life. Garrett Linck approached his work with some reservation, as it was the first time he was immortalizing something so personal and permanent. Having said that, the execution was both careful and experimental, which made for an interesting experience. There are times of eyebrow rising and times of deep appreciation.
“Between The Banks” is a little out there sonically, siren-like guitar runs, warping effects and the constant unsettling burn of a minor-based charge. The instrumentation takes over in the end, which I thought was a smart choice. Its dominance throughout the song should be rewarded. “Heart of Darkness” has strong vocals and switches things up utilizing a swung arrangement. The piano stretches its legs a little more and a single-ready chorus presents itself in this aptly titled effort. At first and even second listen, I still had a little trouble following the logic behind the melody on “Thirty Degrees and Raining.” It squared itself up after a minute or so, but before it could really build it was already over.
“Overlook Park” opens with two intimate notes ringing in partial dissonance, melancholy and intriguing. The notes form a pattern and descend to establish the root and soon the band ascends into a tighter pocket. We hear the guitar squeal randomly behind swelling instrumentation and all you can think about is when will it all break? What started so beautifully meek is now poised to launch into a full force riot. But for reasons beyond me, the riot never comes. Instead it breaks off momentarily and reopens into a different groove and melodic structure altogether. I was quite let down by this musical diversion, but other than that, this song had it all. Abodes of Owls is a walk in the rain, a slow day spent in reflection, a small hope for better days, all rolled into a complex pill and swallowed raw. Make sure to be in the right state of mind for this record and you’ll get lost in feeling.
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