Sunday, October 4, 2009

Reviews: Solitary States / The Dirty Birds

Local quartet collects a batch of head bopping beauties on their indicatively titled debut full length. Some of these soaring melodies over choppy fuzzed out guitars can make you feel like it’s 1997 and your off on some thrift-store button shirt-cloaked road trip escape to ease either a broken heart or general disillusionment. The bending, cooing vocal melodies charming their way above these hard charging rhythms and whirly keyboards, might make local audiences see these tunes as cousins to similarly pop-situated bands like Friendly Foes or Copper Thieves – but Solitary States is less pushed by power-pop or punk, (if anything, closer to Brit-pop or the inescapable buckshot of Big Star’s wispy ballads), what ends up shining through is, already a given—the sturdy, locked in rhythms of drum and bass setting that perfect break out the door and drive down the street feel (“If That’s Your Answer”)– and it even goes without saying that the rhythm guitar perfectly captures the aesthetic of shaggy American underground pop (“Simply, Complicated”), but that second guitar, with its more signature pedal-inflected growls and barrel-rolling solos (“Determination”) beside high wispy vocals that seem to fit so well (“A Funny Way”), in waving riding melodies (just wait for the cut away at the two minute mark). They can even handle instrumentals, “Winter Light,” with its distinctive bass groove, funky chords, spacey echoes and jazzy drums could be the ideal night-drive theme you new-wavey-Smiths kids have been looking for all summer. “W.W.B.D.D.” is the star, in this writer’s opinion, with snaky bass lines opening up into this atmospheric, waltzy shred reminiscent of some ultra stylized pop-revival composition any indie-rocking-McCartney might pen on a particularly Mystery-Tour-feeling afternoon.

Solitary States - Myspace

The opener of once-Ann-Arborites-now-Brooklyn-based-trio Dirty Birds’ first full length “What I Realized” takes you three different coats of mood, the strings sweep in like the pulling of large, lugged curtains in a dusty theatre, the sunflower-field folk of those prancing acoustic guitars go so nicely with singer Jared Seitel’s honey-dipped mid-range, jazzy vibes and tenor sax sways hand and hand with cutting, guttural guitar riffs, it’d be almost dizzying if the trio (with Greg Hornby, David Koenig) weren’t so adroit at holding down their wistful-to-wild-to-freewheeling jazz/folk/pop-rock vibe, keeping it near that jazz-club cool cucumber vibe, save for a few harder-rocking moments.

Thick, orchestral, cinematic, all those grand adjectives apply; highlights, the stirring strings under the epic “Promised Land” and the endearing/beautifully-sung duet (with Ann Arbor folkstress Charlene Kaye) “Just as Blue.”

Dirty Birds Myspace

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