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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Dying Californian
We Are the Birds That Stay
Turn Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Nathan Dalton's vocals are an acquired taste. Some listeners will no doubt find it desperate, some worn, some whiny, some intimate. Others, like myself, will find singing genuine and moving. He has a distinct growl that works in a number of different situations, be it the anthemic shouts of "Prairie Fires", the hungover nostalgia of "Madrugada", or the spiritual introspection of "My Heaven Knows No Reign".

Dalton's voice is backed by a thick, dusty layer of rock. The band keeps perfect time as they intertwine multiple guitar and piano melodies- "The Birds That Stay" and "Chris's Blues" peak with dense rhythms, piling shouts into brief vocal rounds. Despite some pretty complicated song-structures, none of We Are the Birds That Stay sounds calculated or trite. Their brand of rock has a folksy shroud, Dalton's voice combining with the occasional acoustic guitar.

Similar to REM, most of the songs from We Are the Birds That Stay are set to a moderate tempo, mostly varying in distortion and volume. "Prairie Fire" opens the album with waves of energetically distorted chords, while "My Heaven Knows No Reign" and "Sweet Republic" possess a quietness that puts a much deserved spotlight on the vocals.

"My Heaven Knows No Reign" is the album's centerpiece. It rides on a softly encouraging melody with Dalton's voice soaring above. As the band intensifies the rhythm, they keep a steady central riff, showing an extra ounce of restraint. The song is pristine, minimalist, and even uplifting, despite the rugged singing.

Given all of We Are the Birds That Stay's jaunty rhythms and strained vocals, the album goes down pretty easily, without any awkwardness, forcefulness or pretension and, despite its rock and roll roots, it already sounds homey.

Reviewed by Josh Kazman
No infro.

See other reviews by Josh Kazman

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