Friday, August 17, 2007

the wildbirds-golden daze : a music review

i was first introduced to the wildbirds by jenn, who is good friends with "the boys." i recall hearing about them all the way back in our training days at our previous company, in the wintery cold of january 2006. back then what i recall most was her shock that they were officially dismantling their band, number one fan, going back to the drawing board, and re-inventing themselves: as a band, as a group, & their style. well, maybe not so much shock as kind of a grieving process. she loved the boys as number one fan & was, & still is, extremely sad to know that her beloved band is no more. i was also with jenn through the process as she, friend & fan, was privy to the evolution of the new band: new songs, new name, the whole shebang as she hung out with the boys on their frequent trips through the cities here. & as she ventured on a few occasions to appleton, wisconsin just to see them play. on a personal note, i have to say it was quite thrilling to see an artist make that transformation & see how it affects those who love them, on a personal & professional level.

so, onto the music review portion. i'd like to note that jenn is not twisting my arm, nor is she in anyway prompting me to post this. BUT, as someone who has gained a genuine affection for the wildbirds music (& their previous incarnation, number one fan) i want to be out front & promote these guys, maybe gain them a fan or two. i genuinely feel honored that i've been given the privilege of hearing many of their songs before the full album release through jenn's ipod over my cube wall when she got the EP at its release & introduced me to the songs that she had been raving about for months & months. (for anyone who, like me, has no clue what the eff an EP is, basically, it is a teaser of the music to come on the full album. it has some of the songs, but not all of them. according to jenn, EP stands for extended play. now, why, a shorter teaser version of an album is called an EXTENDED PLAY i have no fricken clue, just sharin' the knowledge, sharin' the love.)

the wildbirds music, in a way, reminds me of music from bands gone past. they have a bit of a tom petty feel for me (ala the wildflowers album), also a bit of some 60's & 70's rock. there is even a track that is slightly tarantino-eque, as in quentin. since i am a complete music history novice i won't pretend to be able to speak with supreme musical sophistication on the exact genre that they fall into, nor would i try to classify their music into any one spot. the album is, from start to finish, an emotional journey, that, depending on the mindset of the listener, can drastically change the emotions the songs illicit. it consists of eleven tracks, but they flow together so well that it seems that there are both more than eleven songs, and less than eleven songs, if that makes sense. when you listen intently to the songs you, of course, can tell the change from one to the next, but if you have the cd playing in the background as you drive or work or are otherwise distracted from active listening, it feels like an opera with many different scenes.

i have listened quite intently to the album since i got it on wednesday, hoping to do it justice as i try my hand at a music review. with each listen through i find something different that i love, that intrigues me, that makes me think, & that surprises me. at this exact moment i have four songs that are my favorites, but my favorites have also changed several times through out my first days with this album. currently my favorites are "it's alright now," "where has all the goodness gone?" "slow down," & "suzanna."

"it's alright now" is the song that is somewhat tarantino-eque, it was actually used in a commercial that won a contest for (the commercial itself starts at about 6:08 on the player). i know it sounds a bit bizarre to say that a song is tarantino-esque, just have a listen & you'll see what i mean. the second one, "where has all the goodness gone" is the slowest song of the album, almost a ballad, but i hate to pigeon hole any of the songs into a specific genre. but, it is definitely a welcome interlude in the otherwise mainly fast paced album, it allows the listener to stop, take a deep breath, & refocus. "slow down" is a song that i can't stop playing, even as i blog it's playing on my itunes. the chorus is one that, in jenn's words, i can see being really catchy. but it's also really profound & simple at the same time, & is suited perfectly for the place that i am at right now. the last song listed, "suzanna" is the last track on the album, but is definitely a strong track in it's own right. it's the kind of song that you almost HAVE to listen to with the top down, or, at the least, your windows. it is a beautiful song with a wonderfully strong bass beat while at the same time feeling like a rock ballad/love song. each time i hear it i try to focus on a different element: lyrics, drums, guitar.

the wildbirds are definitely a band to watch. they'll be coming through the twin cities again on september 2 at the triple rock social club. i have heard that while their album is phenomenal that it pales in comparison to seeing the band live. the show that night is super cheap, according to the website only $6, it is a 21+ event. but if you're in the cites & free that night, i highly recommend seeing the show. unless you have a personal in with the guys i doubt you'll ever be able to see them play for less. besides, you can't even see a movie for $6 anymore, & this is live in person entertainment.

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