eagleowl – this silent year [Lost Map]

Edinburgh-based sextet eagleowl‘s debut LP showcases their talent for writing and performing a unique brand of folk-tinged, melancholic, drone-pop.

Self-described as ‘slowcore,’ this eagerly anticipated eight track follows up numerous EP and 7” releases, while the band has been busy working further afield; members have collaborated nationally and internationally including work with Withered Hand and Canadian counterparts Woodpigeon.

 

Short, deliberate lyrics (“yeah it’s so/quiet when you’re not here”) act as motifs over which eagleowl build expansive, melancholy soundscapes.

The instantly recognisable, slow, marching format of the songs are coloured with a bass drum that kicks like distant thunder (on opening track ‘Forgetting’) and a gently lilting string section that adds a traditional sounding reel to eagleowl’s melancholy pop.

Wider influences include the soulful vocal qualities and lo-fi lyrical work of certain electronic producers (see James Blake, Alex Clare), numerous slow-moving contemporary Scottish folk acts and even further afield, while the closing minutes of third track ‘Not Over’ could easily be mistaken for film score, and a good film score at that.

Later instrumental sections of the LP (‘Soft Process’) add even more colour to eagleowl’s unique brand of soft, sweet indie rock as each song develops a melodic hook with guitar or string work that will linger in your head for weeks.

This is music intended to spark deep, reflective emotion in the listener and lyrics suggesting lost love, regret and cautious optimism are given a good home in these echoing, ambient, often downbeat compositions.

A poignant guitar lick at the beginning of ‘Summerschool’ provides some twee indie focus on the album, while the orchestral brilliance of ‘Too Late in the Day’ provides the emotional high water mark for the album as eagleowl dramatically create a wall of sound within their brand of ‘slowcore’.

this silent year is an LP that doesn’t really sound like anything else, distinctly Scottish in flavour and feeling with the help of some traditional influences, all typed in lower case; this silent year sees eagleowl at the start of an expansive, droning, echoing career peddling their own brand of melancholy pop.

Words: Tom Deering

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