THE NBT Review 98

Bigger Teeth – BirdEatsBaby (Independent Release)

If earlier BirdEatsBaby releases were indicative of those small town
cinemas from stranger times, all romance and slightly twisted in the way they
spread the dream, this EP dares to go widescreen, the cabaret grows epic, the
soundstage morphs into a garden of distraction and the players now become real
indie pop stars.

The cool thing is, while achieving this; the music loses none of its
charm, its delicious sleaziness or cruel power and in spite of the added
polish, the heart and soul still shines through.

The collection starts deceptively with a sparse vocal harmonic interplay,
then a grunted countdown and the circus slides into our town, hints of future
scares, random violence, exotic encounters blur past fast, then it clicks back
to the minimal.

The Replacement is Coco Rosie gone frenzy breathless, a pogo creature of
a tune the counterpointing semi operatic vocal/piano layer just adds a poignant

Then martial drums, Cure guitar slithers and it’s a modern POP
masterpiece/centerpiece, this is a calling card to the world, about future chart
domination, this is the kind of song that while it is playing the listener
wishes, needs, to see this beautiful thing played damn loud, live. A hint of
the best of those Prog groups of old, Curved Air, Family, even Alice Cooper,
mixed with the arch camp thrill of a Siouxsie, who knew a thing or two on how
not to let a rocknroll jive interfere with the bubblegum deviance. This is ‘Enemies
Like Me’, a song that seems destined to be play listed as often as is possible.

‘Gone’ is Liza Minnelli on speed with a dash of that typical
BirdEatsBaby craziness, and yes the charming Devil IS in the details, the twinkle
here the shiny distorted waltz break-away leading us through to be caught unawares
by the exquisite new folk of the kinda heartbreaking Rosary, heartbreaking that
is, in that sing along rejoicing way of course.

This, my friends, is the sound of the breakthrough, the Birds are gonna
be huge.

Camouflage Baby – The Histrioniks (CatErratic Records)

This is a kind of fearless indie pop, a nervous lyrical artist
vibrating up against the normal, their songs a blur in the sunshine, maybe visiting
the now from some harsher darker suburbia, it’s the sound of stoplights ignored,
distilled into a brittle modern dance, too sharp to fit into what passes now as
American punk, it reminds me of the raw honest Replacements,(not quite so
shabby ) or perhaps that ragged beautiful Exene led X, though by now the band
has a distinctive mood-sound all of their own, instantly familiar to those who
have loved earlier collections. When I try to pinpoint the secret that sets
this band apart, I think, there is a love of Brit-pop refinement within the
songwriting that lifts it away from the slacker easy alternative, so the dirt within
is not thrown at you but has to be dug for.

While listening to this, I am taken back to earlier this week and a curious
hopeful search for good indie American tunes, and getting song after song of
either ancient hard rock dressed up in new glitter, or soft adult orientated
whimpers pretty much designed by boardroom committees. Thank goodness then for the
arrival of the Camouflage Baby.

This set strays from the powerpop of previous installments in that it
flirts rather madly with the blues and stripped down country rock, but again, strangely,
its country rock as heard, seen, played by outsiders, and this is a very good
thing, cause it gives the tunes shiny hooks and angles, a welcome distortion of
the facts.

And that is the very essence of a Histrioniks release (and never more so
than this child) it doesn’t really belong neatly in any one genre, within any
too structured playlist, it is the stranger at the dinner table, the welcome uninvited

Stand out track out of a bunch of standout tunes,  is the ghost-dance called ‘The Last Three Days’
where the male and female voices blend and shiver outwards together and haunt
the airwaves.

Songs from both these albums will be played on the NBT podcast going out
on the 21st of October 2010


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