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Home » Albums in Review, Music, Sub Pop

Thus Owls “Turnings Rocks” of memories past

Submitted by on October 7, 2014 – 10:46 pmNo Comment

Thus Owls Promo Photo 2014_Cloth_Photo Credit Caroline Desilets1MEGThe Swedish-Canadian experimental group known affectionately to us as Thus Owls has surprised fans yet again this year with their third studio album.

Following up on their previous release Harbours that came out a couple years prior, the new album Turning Rocks was released on Secret City Records in April this year and has been receiving critical acclaim.

The album was long-listed for the 2014 Polaris Music Price, alongside other Canadian treasures such as Arcade Fire , Chromeo, PUP, Drake and Shad. It’s a little slower and more intricate than their previous work, as the band took a different direction in the production of this album.

“When we entered the process this time, we decided to approach it differently than we had before,” said Simon over the phone. “I mean, the first difference to be noticed is that it’s a completely different band playing on it. We tried to make a more honed in “pop” sound this time.”

Before the band used to be composed of all Swedes and Simon himself, before fixing up a permanent lineup on this album comprised of bass player Morgan Moore, drummer Stef Schneider and keyboard player Parker Shper from Montreal.

Interestingly enough, the band is labelled as half Swedish and Half Canadian for just cause – not just because lead singer Erika Angell is from Sweden and her husband and guitarist Simon Angell is from Montreal originally.

The two met while touring with different bands in 2007 opening for Loney Dear – in Amsterdam – and soon after, Simon fell for Erika’s music and her soul, they became one in both.

“After we spent a couple of weeks together, fast forward to six months later and I’m living in Sweden,” laughed Simon.

This album is actually the first from the band to be written and produced entirely in Canada – Simon’s hometown of Montreal. The previous release was recorded in France just before the couple migrated back to Montreal together. Simon explains that the dichotomy on this album in contrast to their last is strongly due to their new surroundings.

“With the whole writing and recording process happening in Montreal, the surroundings definitely lent themselves to the album,” said Simon.Thus-Owls_Turning-Rocks_cover.jpgWhen asked if the lyrical content was also influenced by their new environment, Simon had an interesting answer and painted a great picture of a young girl and her grandmother. One of Simon’s artist friends painted an actual picture of Erika’s grandmother which graces the album’s cover.

“Erika writes all the lyrics of course, but I can give you a specific answer about her lyrics on this album. It’s all about her grandmother, her home. The idea of it was all from stories and people that have lived in her home, where she grew up. Her home has been in the family for five generations, just over a hundred years.”

Erika’s grandmother just celebrated her 90th recently, and her strength continues to be a driving force for Erika in her pursuits of passion.

“It all stemmed from her grandmother telling her tales of living in these woods, in this small village where she grew up. Moving to Montreal made Erika really reflect on those, as you do when you’re taken away from something.”

Thus Owls is beginning a North American tour full of new shows, starting with Toronto’s Rivoli on Thursday, Oct. 9. The group had played in Toronto twice previously, first at CMW (2012) then at NXNE (2014.)

“I haven’t played at the Rivoli in almost ten years, so it’s exciting.”

Story by Devin Size, photo by Caroline Desilets

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