The new album by Swedish-Canadian duo Thus Owls, Black Matter, is a surreal mishmash of eerie vocals and strange synth. For some, it may work; for this reviewer, it was difficult to listen to. The first track, “Asleep in the Water,” was almost enough to put me to sleep, if it wasn’t for the fact that track was so insufferably slow and dredging. I kept waiting for the end, but it was quite possibly the longest five minutes and twenty-seven seconds of my life.
The title track picked up a bit but still had painfully slow moments where I wondered when the song was going to end. The third track, “Shields,” was another “sleeper,” the languid vocals dragging the song along. “Turn up the Volumes” had a promising start with a faster tempo and more energetic beat, but it quickly slipped back into the thematic haze of monotony carried through the other songs.
“Vector” is a shorter instrumental/electronic piece that elicited many yawns but no emotions. Finally, the album ends with “We Leave We Forget.” I’m sure it was intended as a deep, thought-provoking piece, but the only thought it provoked in me was: “At last! It’s over.” Were I the type to give out stars in my reviews, I would be hesitant to assign this album the requisite one star, but after careful consideration I think I can safely dole out a star for an album that must have a niche somewhere.