Barn Owl, Lost in the Glare

Christopher R. Weingarten

By Christopher R. Weingarten

on 09.13.11 in Reviews

Lost in the Glare

Barn Owl

Over the course of seven albums, San Francisco space cowboys Barn Owl have moved their suffocating, ritualistic drones from the desert plains into the starry skies, from twang to Tang. Once renowned as a venomous, cough-syrup-addled version of Earth’s tumbleweed sludge, the ever-evolving duo have started delving deeper and deeper into more cosmic textures and fluffier drones. On their second Thrill Jockey release, their acoustic doom-folk strumming is still very prevalent, but now increasingly soaked in endless reverb, shimmering space-rock textures and a floating-in-space drift. Going for more expansive arrangements and a more uplifting sound than the desolate, Cormac McCarthy-core of 2010′s Ancestral Star, Barn Owl emerges like a gloomy, misfit cousin to bands like Mountains, Lichens and Arp. However, their evil side is still very much present: “Devotion II” is a perfect piece of Morricone metal and “The Darkest Night Since 1683″ is a slab of pure, unfiltered, none-more-blackened, electric doom.