Album Review: Giant Rooks – Rookery

Giant Rooks exceeded all expectations when finally releasing their debut album ‘Rookery’ on August 28th in the middle of a pandemic. After releasing their hit-single ‘Watershed’ earlier this year it might have already been known that ‘Rookery’ would’ve become one of the best indie-rock albums of 2020. The German band, formed in 2014, have gained a passionate fanbase all over Europe. The group even received the German ‘1Live Krone Award’ in 2019 and the ‘Award for Pop culture’. After touring through Europe in 2019 and picking up fans right, left and centre, fans were beyond thrilled when the band dropped their first debut album this year.

With ‘Rookery’ the band created an album which blurs genre boundaries blending indie-rock, pop and R’n’B sounds into a unique musical adventure for the listener. The twelve-track album comprises songs which unite pop and indie-rock lovers to enjoy this cross-genre experience together. While staying true to their authentic instrumental sound from their previous EP ‘New Estate’ released in 2017, the group experimented more with synthesised tones and the freedom of electronically generated sounds as can be heard in ‘Into Your Arms’ and ‘Rainfalls’. However, the natural sounds of the instruments are still foregrounded, and the synths generally add a modern edge to them.

Lead singer Frederik Rabe explores the opportunity to demonstrate the deep sound of his husky voice in songs such as ‘Into Your Arms’, ‘The Birth of Worlds’ and ‘All We Are’. This shows us the immense potential of Rabe’s vocal abilities. The frequent background vocals accompanying Rabe’s strong vocals throughout the album contribute to an even richer listening experience especially during the rather mellow bridge of ‘What I Know Is All Quicksand’ and the last chorus and outro of ‘Into Your Arms’. These quite intense and powerful musical moments illustrate the emotional influence music has on us. Even though some of the songs express certain melancholia, this feature embraces the listener with a feeling of warmth and depth. And who does not love to feel this way?

The band genuinely sympathises with social and political movements, for instance “Friday’s For Future” and “Black Lives Matter” which also becomes evident in ‘Rookery’. In an interview with Wonderland Magazine the band members emphasise how the aim of this album was not to dwell on the past but to experience this present moment which is also what they wanted to create for their listeners, and spoiler – they succeeded. 

The songs on ‘Rookery’ indicate the question of one’s purpose in society and the uncertainties of life (which we are all confronted with at some point). The thoughtful lyrics touch upon deep personal insecurities and beliefs – “Misinterpretations, in every breath I take, another day on earth to try, to make a sense of other lives” Rabe sings in ‘Misinterpretations’. Combined with indie beats along with pop and rock influences, the songs’ lyrics express frustration as well as hope composed in a beautifully genre-bending way. These guys are just getting started, and we cannot wait to hear what the five band members come up with for their next album! Maybe a completely new sound?

Text by: Alexa Zsigmond

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