A veritable choral cacophony, Julia Holter’s fifth outing invites you in to get lost in a world that can seem chaotic on the surface, but once you delve beneath the waves, possesses a peaceful serenity.
Be warned: a full appreciation of this album requires numerous listens - it offers little at first glance, but the moment you surrender yourself to this fate, all becomes clear.
The euphoric opening of “Turn The Light On”, soon tumbles upon itself surrounded by Holter’s wailing. A method which applied generously throughout Aviary, Holter is the conductor of an auditory experience like no other. With the first track acting like an introduction, setting the scene for the journey ahead, as it soon progresses through to “Whether”, this is where the road truly begins.
As each act of Aviary progresses, Holter proceeds to test you in every single way. “Everyday Is An Emergency” begins with a caterwaul of high-pitched noises and vocals, swarming together, but eventually dissipating to a calmer environment of Holter and piano.
Moves like this are what keep Holter always one step ahead of you upon first listen - as if to test your resolve for just sheer noise, and rewarding with the dulcet tones of lightly pressed piano keys. Once you dive back in for a second listen, the awareness of such chaotic delights means you can open yourself up to the broader interpretation, and maybe even find some personal resolution.
Given its 90-minute run time, and with only two clocking in under five minutes, exploring the vast expanse of Holter’s mind deeply; at times, it feels somewhat like a space expedition touching upon the outer reaches of our consciousness.
When it does lend itself to more, for lack of a better word, traditional sense, there’s still every effort given to surrounding you with an overbearing sense of dread. Even when being met with the more palatable of verses, by the time you find yourself at the sparse closer of “Why Sad Song”, there’s no deep feeling of resolution. As it all falls away to silence, feeling like an eroding cliff falling into a swirling sea, for all your effort, you’ll be going around again to see what else you can decipher.