Active Bird Community - Amends - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Active Bird Community - Amends

by Nathan Fidler Rating:7 Release Date:2018-09-14
Active Bird Community - Amends
Active Bird Community - Amends

Sometimes a band give themselves such a daft name that it’s really a jarring experience to actually hear them. To see the album cover for Amends and the bookish name of Active Bird Community, you’d expect some flat, indie-landfill, so it comes as a pleasant surprise to hear a band harking back to 90s alternative rock.

Getting off on that right foot, this is an album which shifts up the moods, as well as exactly which 90s guitar music it’s riffing on. Opener ‘Amends’ has a singular string riff which builds, drums and bass pausing briefly before the chorus and opening into a crashing battle cry. The track also features self-deprecating lyrics which seem to yearn for the opportunity to wallow in the wake of a break up “back where I’m from, everybody loves to understand”.

Elsewhere, ‘Sweaty Lake’ edges towards a proper alt-rock driver, featuring a breakneck tempo and a muted breakdown. But the lyrics are less angular than you might expect, varying between the thoughtful, moody lines (“my body felt the bruise of its youth”) with the slightly twee (“we’ve both got dogs on our shirts”) - these two styles of writing don't seem to mesh together.

Aping Teenage Fanclub somewhat on ‘Baby It’s You’, Active Bird Community show themselves to be capable of taking what they loved about that era of music and owning it for themselves. ‘Virginia’ has a grungy edge, particularly in the delivery of the verses, while ‘Silver Screen’ and ‘Unwind With Me’ harnesses the confidence-lacking vibes of Weezer.

The key is that there is a melody and hook on each track. It may not always pay off as well as on the first handful of tracks, particularly when ‘Downstairs’ lets the band take their foot off the accelerator by trying to paint a moodier picture, but it will bring great joy to anyone seeking buzzing guitars, lyrics describing anxieties in all aspects of life and a decent amount of zip to songs.

Having cut their teeth over numerous albums and EPs since 2012, this is a Brooklyn band who have the potential to bring back the comfort of self-pitying rock for those who feel like underdogs.

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