Damn, just seeing that album title convinced me that I needed to listen to this band. Beheading of the Songbird? Twisted? Maybe. Interesting? For sure. I think I’d describe it as eclectic and hectic – and good for the ears.
I first became aware of this San Diego area quintet when Flogging Molly brought them on tour and subsequently signed them as the first act on their new Indie label Borstal Beat.
The album was originally released in the UK two years ago, but has just now been released in the United States. It’s an excellent introduction to their powerful and divers music. It’s a unique sound. I would imagine the progeny of Arcade Fire and The Pogues would have resulted in a band just like The Drowning Men.
Their music is deep and layered, packed with dark lyrics and filled with passion. It seems as though it would translate fantastically into an excellent live show. And, you’ll be able to see for yourself this fall, as they tour the country supporting The Airborne Toxic Event.
The selections on Beheading of The Song Bird are hit or miss, but the best tunes are very strong. “Songbird” is a future anthem in the making. It’s a song about a troubled youngster struggling with the aftermath of something horrible he’s done: “I took all his worries, I cut away his charm. From the nest to the hand, What a mess Iʼve done.” The song starts with some nice keys from Gabriel Messer and features moving vocals from Nathan “Nato” Bardeen throughout; where he seems to channel Arcade Fire’s Win Butler.
“Oracle Meets Weeping Willows” is beautiful and is a fitting intro to another strong song, “Down These Days,” which resembles Arcade Fire. “Get A Heart”and “More Than This” are also excellent arrangements that spotlight the band broad musical talent. The songs that feeatured piano and keyboards were the most memorable.
The cut with the greatest potential for airplay is “Rita” driven by the powerful drums of Rory Dolan, and melancholy vocals of a relationship gone bad. It’s got a nice sing-along vibe despite the dour message.
“Courageous Son” is my personal favorite. The lyrics reflect tough times adjusting to life in America. “This is the wishy washy land, That you hold so dear. This is the final cure, This is America. In their hearts you will never win!” The music belies the lyrics and conjure images of a crazy musical carnival ride. It brought back good memories of The Killers and Pogues. Good stuff!
Check out the tracks on iTunes.
Rock On – Cretin