Parisian outfit Abrahma release their second album for Small Stone, Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird, on May 12. The heavy psych rockers’ sophomore outing follows 2012’s debut, Through the Dusty Paths of Our Lives (review here), and while the two records share some things in common, like a multi-part thematic piece running throughout, or a title on the longer side, the moods are remarkably distinct. Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird, a gruesome mirror, is darker than its predecessor, moodier overall, with a primary impression of slower tempos and a somewhat grungier feel. Still psychedelic in terms of the airy guitar work of Seb Bismuth (also vocals and keyboards) and Nicolas Heller, the 10-track offering might have its dreamy side, but even that often comes accompanied by downer pacing and a pervasive melancholy.
There are exceptions to this rule, of course. “Square the Circle” has the record’s shortest runtime at 3:42 and also its fastest push, and the ending of “Weary Statues” picks up effectively, but to compare that to the doomly swirl, effects and sax over churning riffs, of “Omens Pt. 2” or even opener “Fountains of Vengeance,” which boasts one of Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird‘s strongest hooks, and the darker side is made plain. The rhythm section of bassist Guillaume Colin and drummer/engineer Benjamin Colin — the two are brothers — is well at home in making changes fluid and allowing the guitars the appropriate space, songs like “Kapal Kriya” and “An Offspring to the Wolves” proffering big riffs and echoes greatly bolstered by the rumble beneath and the thud and crash pushing them along. Guitarist Ed Mundell (The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, ex-Monster Magnet), who also appeared on Through the Dusty Paths of Our Lives, makes a return guest spot for “A Shepherd’s Grief,” and comes to the fore suitably shredding in the midsection, and even that song ultimately gives way to a kind of depressive largesse, transitioning into the quiet minimalism of closer “Conium,” which builds to an effects-laden peak in its last 90-or-so seconds and provides the album with a particularly hypnotic finish.
Another constant held over from the debut, however, is the songwriting. As far out as Abrahma went on Through the Dusty Paths of Our Lives, they never lost track of the fact that they were writing a piece to contribute to the whole of the record, and the same is true of Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird. More so, even, since the material is tighter and more cohesive and the album itself is nearly 20 minutes shorter at 52:41. It’s that core of songwriting that enables Abrahma to continue to engage the listener in this brooding manner, their attention to detail evident in the effects, solos, rhythmic changes and depth of the mix, which is the kind of abyss in which it’s a pleasure to lose oneself.
Today I have the pleasure of hosting “Weary Statues” for streaming ahead of the album’s release next month. Both one of the most driving and most open-sounding cuts on Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird, it pulls together the varying sides of the record’s personality well, and speaks to the emotional and sonic intensity Abrahma bring to bear on their second offering. They’ll be on tour with Lo-Pan starting next week, and you can find those dates along with a short comment from Bismuth about “Weary Statues,” after the song on the player below.
“‘Weary Statues’ is surely the most aggressive but also emotive song we’ve ever done with ABRAHMA, as well as a good proof of the evolution we’ve made in our music.” — Seb Bismuth
ABRAHMA will be touring Europe with their labelmates Lo-Pan this spring, including a stop at Roadburn Festival in Holland.
09.04 – STRASBOURG (FR) Mudd Club
10.04 – LICHTENFELS (DE) Paucnhy Cats Inn
11.04 – MUNSTER (DE) Rare Guitar
12.04 – TILBURG (NL) ROADBURN FESTIVAL
13.04 – France TBA
14.04 – MONTPELLIER (FR) Black Sheep
15.04 – MADRID (SP) Maravillas Club
16.04 – BARCELONA (SP) Rocksound
17.04 – VITORIA (SP) Helldorado
18.04 – NICE (FR) Le Volume
19.04 – CALENZANO (IT) ASD Factory Club
20.04 – SAVIGNANO SUL RUBICONE (IT) Sidro Club
21.04 – MUNICH (DE) Feierwerk
22.04 – DRESDEN (DE) Ost-Pol
NEW ALBUM Reflections In The Bowels Of A Bird – Out May 12th on Small Stone Records
Sebastien Bismuth: vocals, guitars, effects & keyboards
Nicolas Heller: guitars
Guillaume Colin: Bass guitar
Benjamin Colin: drums
Ed Mundell: guitar solos on “A Shepherd’s Grief”
Vincent Dupuy: saxophone on “Omens Pt. 2”
Recorded by Benjamin Colin at Hakesound Studios, Romainville (France). Produced by Abrahma & Thomas Bellier. Mixed by Eric Hoegemeyer at Tree Laboratory, Brooklyn, NY (USA) except Conium, mixed by Benjamin Colin at Hakesound Studio, Romainville (France)Abrahma, Abrahma Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird, France, Paris, Reflections in the Bowels of a Bird, Small Stone Records