• hibou Something Familiar (LP, £19.95)

    label: Barsuk Records

    Peter Michel recorded Hibou’s 2015 self-titled debut in a walk-in closet. These humble beginnings led to great things: His shoegaze-frosted dream-pop drew raves from Consequence of Sound, Stereogum, and Seattle Weekly, and led to opening slots for Metric, EL VY, Phantogram and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The Seattle-based musician has come a long way since that time in fact, his second album as Hibou, Something Familiar, reflects several years marked by profound change. Something Familiar addresses Michel’s ongoing battle with anxiety and depersonalisation the latter a disorder distinguished by feeling disengaged from the mind and body, as if someone is an outsider looking in at their own self. As a result, Something Familiar has a decidedly darker tone. Although the core elements of Hibou remain intact reverb-soaked guitars, plush keyboards, and Michel’s dreamy croon the record exudes melancholy. The churning “Malison” boasts a tougher, space rock-influenced underbelly, while the shimmering, synth-driven gems “Fall Into” and “The Way You’re Breathing” sigh with resignation. But for all of the changes and progress evident on Something Familiar, Michel is careful to note that the core essence of what makes Hibou special hasn’t changed. “It was strange to start consciously writing from a different stylistic standpoint, but I didn’t want to totally turn the page,” Michel says. “There is still a fundamental Hibou sound in there. It just is drenched in a little more honesty.” Tracks: Malison / Junipero Love / Amethyst / Fall Into / Glamour / Only In The Dark / Opia / The Way You’re Breathing / Something Familiar / You Could Vanish Again

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