After bursting onto the indie rock scene in 2015 with their first EP The Times Are Bursting the Lines, German quintet Giant Rooks go from strength to strength with debut album Rookery. After years of writing and touring, the album is a long-awaited realisation of everything they’ve journeyed towards in the past few years. Staying true to themselves with their usual lyrical depth, jangly guitar and emotive richness, Rookery is a thoroughly refreshing catalogue of indie warmth.
Giant Rooks achieve an air of sophistication from the get-go with The Birth of Worlds: a gentle introduction to what becomes a powerful dreamscape of sweeping guitars and their classic incandescent nature. Watershed, previously released as a single in anticipation of the album, is a vibrant and preppy contrast to the sound we may come to expect from the band – regardless, the reverb-loaded piano and nostalgic cosiness make it a pop track well executed.
Another pre-released track comes in the form of a punchy, flashy exhibition of raw, echoey vocals and zestful drum fills; Heat Up acts as a powerful indication of the genre-play prominent throughout the album, and Giant Rooks’ discography as a whole. Rainfalls is a meticulously crafted, playful round-style track with a repetitive format combatted by a key change that welcomes familiar harmonious layers of sound.
Misinterpretations is a cacophony of breezy, hopeful goodness. While initially sombre, marching-band-like drums swoop in and present a reassuring feel. The raw, commanding vocals of frontman Frederik Rabe this time tackle a little falsetto amid the restful, familiar piano. Taking a darker turn, Silence takes Rookery to a place reminiscent of the band’s earlier works. Deep and feisty melodies are defined by jarring but never overbearing drum fills. Never shy to explore perhaps unexpected genres for an indie outfit, the track rounds off with a futuristic malfunctioning synth effect.
One of the leading singles to be released prior to the album is What I Know Is All Quicksand. Intense rhythms collide with dynamic bass that pique your interest until a calm spoken-word section defies all prediction, and wanders into epic harmonies and parallel keys. Wild Stare provides fans with some familiar listening as the titular track of Giant Rooks’ 2019 EP. Regardless, it’s a simple but welcome catchy groove and sits perfectly within the line-up. The breadth of genres spanned across Rookery makes closing track, All We Are feel reflective and perfectly self-aware. A moody and stormy beginning welcomes back the use of electronic influences amid classical instruments and vocoded vocals.
Giant Rooks, as expected, have created a collection of works in which an assortment of styles are executed congruously and really, quite beautifully. Rookery is a truly unique album from a truly unique band.