Weird Owl

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Healing Review

by Heather Phares

Weird Owl opted for a change of pace and scenery on their fourth album: it was released by A Records, the imprint of the Brian Jonestown Massacre's Anton Newcombe, and like Newcombe, the band explore the power of drones on Healing. It's a much lighter, more ambient approach than they took on their albums for Teepee, Ever the Silver Cord Be Loosed and Build Your Beast a Fire, both of which balanced their psychedelic leanings with heroic doses of stoner rock (Build Your Beast a Fire was produced by Justin Pizzoferrato, who also worked with J. Mascis' hard rock project Witch). Boasting four airy tracks and a sampled vignette, Healing is about as far from the almost claustrophobically dense attack Weird Owl took previously as they could get. Their lighter touch allows them more range: opening track "Change Your Mind" switches effortlessly from luminous verses reminiscent of Tame Impala to a heavier bridge and sprawling guitar solo; "Stars on a Coffin Lid" may have a weight similar to the band's earlier output, but its swirling keyboards add some sparkle. Indeed, the synths that sometimes seemed awkward on Weird Owl's previous albums fit in much better on Healing, and even take the lead on the title track. And as that album's title suggests, some of these songs are downright gentle, like seven-minute centerpiece "Seventh of Seven Sundays," which drifts along on riffs and synths that evoke shadows and smoke. Healing's trippy miasmas are more soothing than stunning, but even if it's less dramatic and bombastic than Weird Owl's earlier music, it reveals them as a more interesting and versatile band.

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