Seems like only yesterday Barn Owl had a new record on Thrill Jockey, and in fact this, Lost In The Glare, is their third for TJ in about a year, coming hot on the heels of their Shadowland 12" which ranks up there as one of our favorites. Lost In The Glare doesn't radically reinvent their sound, just further stretches it out, and refines it, the opening track as fierce as anything we've heard from them, lush tangles of guitar, over swirling droned out shimmer, culminating in a wild squall of jagged psychedelic feedback. And that jagged psychedelia definitely seeps into the rest of the record, with the duo seeming to crank up their guitars for the first time in a while. Past records have been all about the dusty deserty twang, the slow burn, the smoldering ambience, and while all of that is still present, the band seem supercharged. "Turiya" finds the duo stomping on the fuzz box and unfurling peals of thick distorted guitar that almost sounds like Neil Young at times, gorgeous streaks of melody suspended over an Earth like dirge, it's a potent combo and definitely has the band sounding aggressive and HEAVY. "Devotion 1" brings it all back down, letting slow smokey melodies drift over vast expanses of space, eventually joined by a thick insectoid buzz, the sound transformed into a blissed out celestial raga. The longest track here, is also the heaviest, "The Darkest Night Since 1683" opens with a crackly haze of amp buzz and slow build chordal thrum, before erupting into some seriously blown out, downtuned blackened doomdronedirge guitar, a slow motion riff, all tarpit ooze as it buzzes and crumbles, eventually leaving a stretch of hazy twangy, psychedelic shimmer. The rest of the record takes Barn Owl's ever shifting sound and runs with it, exploring Appalachian raga folk, all steel string buzz and lush soaring psychedelic swirl, murky moody late night crawl, rife with streaks of whirling melodies driven by a muted pulse and some washed out twang, gauzy Sunroof!-like ur-drone, all upper register skree wreathed in lush swells of bassy hum, and finally a closer that finds the band revisiting their dusty twang, but again, giving it some extra crunch, the guitars super distorted, the drums a blown out pound, all woven into a swoonsome mournful desert doom creep. (Aquarius)
Cat. number: THRILL 280
Pressed on 150g vinyl in a first pressing of 1,500 copies (500 translucent blue, 1,000 black). Included is a free download coupon.
The album was recorded to tape at San Francisco's Lucky Cat Studios.
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