Heron Oblivion – Heron Oblivion (Sub Pop)

Heron stretches its legs over wah-wah solos and siren-like live vocals

Released Mar 13th, 2016 via Sub Pop / By Ian Stanley
Heron Oblivion – Heron Oblivion (Sub Pop) Coming at music like a heron stepping gingerly over barely-moving water, then furiously and violently plunging its head to break the surface for a kill, this is not the first time we’ve seen the members of Heron Oblivion introduce a new album from a new band to the world.

As the voice of Meg Baird begins to sing off the surface of crunching feedback in a guitar solo, it becomes very recognisable as the voice of Philadelphia band Espers. This is as siren-like as before, but stretched and manipulated by the constant shove of an electric, wailing electric guitar.

Some of the songs on this album from the San Francisco foursome seem to over-do it on the noodling, but more often than not they show restraint and create something haunting and that sails. ‘Your Hollows’, ‘Rama’ and ‘Faro’ all achieve this. And in an album that is just seven tracks in total, that’s a pretty good ratio. But take into account a number of this selection clocks in at the six to ten minute mark, it’s not a short ride.

To some extent there is the strangest of familiar appearances in Heron Oblivion’s self-titled album. In one of the shorter songs – ‘Faro’ – Baird’s voice and the band create a folk Sonic Youth effect. There’s a simplistic riff, a knee-jerking bassline and Baird’s vocal almost rests on a Kim Gordon register of talking. However, there’s still an element of despair that clings closely to the style Heron Oblivion are pushing out, and there’s certainly the stretch and pulling of guitar strings over and back through wah-wah solos and feedback.

The experience that Heron Oblivion has used in making this debut from this particular arrangement of musicians shows a certain culture and measure within this album. There’s similarities to Sonic Youth and Wolf Alice in the well-produced dips between a closely chilling verse and the far reaching chorus. Despite its crunching solos and passionately thrown out choruses this is not a violent grunting beast of an album. It’s like watching a Heron as it stretches its legs over wah-wah solos and siren-like live vocals and then violently crashes its beak down into the water with grace.