Birds are better {Album Spotlight} The Island – Part One

It was love at first listen when we heard Seven In The Morning, the first single in advance of the new Birds are better full length The Island – Part One.  Finally the album has fully arrived and it retains its harmonious charm throughout.  Our words from when we first covered Seven In The Morning still ring true.  It’s fair to make comparisons to classic Simon and Garfunkel works.  Birder Are Better embrace the association, they know they’ve carved out their own space within this sound.  In that way they connect with projects like Darlingside and Kings of Convenience. 

Birds Are Better have their own updated sonic intellect, adding doses of modern production elegantly.  It adds to the cinematic appeal without risking the songs integrity.  The production lends to its enhanced dreamy aura.  

That enhanced aura arrives emphatically on Super Highway.  An uplifting energy implies a celebration.  New elusive classic influences like ELO and Todd Rundgren not heard so prominently on the first single arrive fully, culminating in a furious outro electric piano solo.  Birds are Better associate their production tendencies with their admiration for retro pop icons like a-ha.  It’s significant, consider a-ha is responsible for possibly the most infectious irresistible pop hit of all time.   Emphasis on irresistible.  In that manner Birds for better never lose their catchy musicality.  The record is truly easy listening, but also creatively fantastic.  

The drums relent on the subsequent Fall.  The poetry feels personal, even spiritual. The cosmic sonic textures are immersive, creating a musical world for you to get lost in, or more appropriately to discover.  Self discovery is at the root of their ethos, that kind of dreamy psychedelic revelation and the singers tempered tenor might bring Fall comparisons to The Flaming Lips.

An adapted traditional folk influence invades the song Marigold.  The singers performance suggests a reverence for the vibrant production.  That detail had us drawing comparisons to the late works of David Byrne. We hear a similar design on a later track too, Fencing You In.  

They embellish an influence of Sufjan Stevens with their classic traditional folk instincts on the single Nothing Is Real When I’m Away From You.  The tone design shimmers bright, as if Jeff Lynne had produced it.  Collectively we also hear similarities to classic CSN.  

They adapt that Laurel Canyon intention on the title track The Island, embracing the aura of Neil Young and adding him appropriate to the CSN mix, cleverly tracing that stylistic legacy back to The Byrds and The Beach Boys.  Birds are Better cover a lot of ground by the records mid point, and their prolific tendencies show an appreciation for their craft beyond the traps of formality.  This is a thoughtful record.  

Their somber indie folk abilities shine through on Baby Blue and Oh Mother.  Connecting again with breakthrough indie folk troubadours Darlingside or early Fleet Foxes, Birds are better harmonize elegantly.  They add interesting arrangements and compositional surprise to match their harmonic shine.  It’s just one strong suit within a versatile project that could explode at an instant.  Their vast catalog offers them those two worlds and they shine bright within both lights.  

The album closes with the meaningful All In The Past.  It solidifies the albums assumed conception and marks the essence of this creative breakthrough.  The Island – Part One brings comfort because it was served to heal a tortured creative soul.  Perhaps those boys seen on the cover, creating imaginative worlds parallel to these cosmic musical soundscapes, lost in their dreams, lost in bliss.  


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