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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

November 13, 2013 at 4:37 PM

The compelling gloom of Ravenna Woods’ ‘The Jackals’ | New recordings

Ravenna Woods51WKD8DyaNL__AA160_Ravenna Woods, “The Jackals” (Ravwoo)

Local brooders Ravenna Woods have provided the soundtrack for your next six-month bout of seasonal affective disorder with “The Jackals,” a 15-song collection of gloomy indie rock.

“The Jackals” follows Ravenna Woods’ 2010 debut LP “Demons and Lakes” and the EP “Valley of the Headless Men,” from 2011 — both of which managed to snag KEXP’s “album of the year” award.

Powered by tribal rhythms and an effective Kickstarter campaign, “The Jackals” is a carefully considered album that happens to sound like it was recorded in a dark cave somewhere on the Olympic Peninsula. In reality, all of the recording happened at the home lead singer Chris Cunningham shares with his friend and producer Chris Proff.

The first few songs set the tone, from the slowly building “Eidetic” through four tracks that establish themes of alienation and paranoia, culminating with the single “Border Animals.”

The song provides a look at Ravenna Woods at its best. The insistent, frenetic drums are there, as are the clean guitar lines, emotive yelps and dark, reverb-laden lyrics. When Cunningham sings, “They dig up everything/they always find out in the end/they’ve got your job, friends, lovers all calling you out,” it’s a warning that things might not end well.

They don’t and for a band that bucks the pastoral comfort most acoustic artists offer, that’s kind of the point.

Other new releases

The Beatles, “On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 (Capitol)

Grizzly Bear, “Shields: B-Sides” (Warm)

Lady Gaga, “ARTPOP” (Interscope)

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: "The Jackals", New Recordings, Ravenna Woods


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