Thursday, December 5, 2013

REVIEW: Bitch Prefect - Bird Nerds

Bird Nerds is the sound of life unfolding.  For most people, sometimes you're happy, sometimes you're sad.  And while I expect that is true of the lads in Bitch Prefect, a number of the songs of Bird Nerds make certain that you hear the negative.  You lose the girl you want as a friend because she wants a boyfriend ("It's A Shame").  You leave your home town, but nostalgia is crowded out by feelings that the departure was in certain respects overdue ("Adelaide").  An asshole know-it-all dominates the discussion in the university classroom ("University Friend").  You want some wine and are desperate enough to ask your grandmother, and star-crossed enough that she refuses.  Plan B is to make money at the horse races, but the nags treat you no better than grandma, although they promise to do better next time ("Better Next Time").  There are some slacker guitar pop furnishings and a few songs pace the sunny side of the street, but the core of this album is damn-it-life-has-been-kicking-me-in-the-teeth-and-dishing-me-lemons.  So, you ask, does it work?  And if so, why?   First things first:  In my opinion it most certainly does work, and it works very well.

As for the "why", it comes down to a few simple points for me.  First, while much of the perspective focuses on specific disappointments, there isn't any plea for sympathy or begging for mercy.  Liam Kenny, Pat Telfer and Scott O'Hara are just telling it as it is.  Second, the songwriting is both mature and clever.  The melodies and musicianship are very good, albeit in a shambling garage rock groove.  The songs relate the stories in an entertaining manner, and the trio has the critical knack for creating an atmosphere with their arrangements that match the emotions in the lyrics (compare "Shipped It" with the other two songs below).  Finally, Bitch Prefect  takes themes of disappointment and disaffection and manages to convey them in their own guitar pop style, without resorting to a traditional disaffected youth punk template.  So its punk themes, but with a an indie guitar pop approach.  Of course, a few other bands have done it before.  But when a band invokes comparisons to the Modern Lovers and Beat Happening, they are doing it right.

Bird Nerds is available in vinyl and CD formats via Bedroom Suck Records.

Bedroom Suck Records

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