Would you like to sit around a campfire and make Smores? Does anyone have a harmonica? Damn it, where is Bob Dylan when you need him.
Oh thank god, someone with a harmonica and an acoustic. Now we can get to work camping out the right way. The raw folksy collective The Falling Birds is a bit of an enigma. They attempt pop in a very raw and stripped down way, their hooks marginalized and torn of all their excess. It is pop brought to you without overt production, whimsy flourishes, and excessive overlays. It is just there, sort of like Guided By Voices yet without the lyrics about hating oneself and the songs ending randomly and without any concern for narrative consistency.
The harmonica seems to be a core instrument in the group’s wrapping sound. “If Time Allows,” it almost stands in for the drums. It provides a rhythmic foot tapping as well as the stream of consciousness ever freeflowing nature of a guitar.
It is even more effectively used in “NY Love Song.” New York may be more known for birthing Interpol’s sense of indie escapism, huge electronics soundwaves, and Lady Gaga, but the adoration for small-time backbooth bars is alive and well in The Falling Birds.
Which seems to create more confusion, because they seem so fitting for that campfire roundabout. But the music was created, and often played, in a grungy downtown Brooklyn basement.
In some ways, the Falling Birds represent the entirety of escapism in one full swoop. The title of the group’s most brilliant and captivating record is the Native American EP. If this isn’t both a respectful nod to a group of people and a daring desire to escape the present, I do not know what is.
Then we turn to the band title. They fell from the sky- literally. Like a group of rugged countrymen that fell right smack dab in the middle of Brooklyn capitalism and poverty dueled together in some kind of twisted futureworld.
So what do they do? They song about trying to escape this world they feel trapped by, taking a pretty girl on a date far\away, and taking a big bright look at the potential future in front of us all.
The Falling Birds craft digestible folk rock for audiences that like their music with a littler bit of self-aware swagger. The band is Stephen Artemis, David Burton, and Nick Albury. Another trio out of the sludges of Brooklyn basements seems like a walking cliché in and of itself. But the trio’s respect for old school rock and roll, from Dylan to the Rolling Stones to Neil Young to Jimmy Reed is encapsulated between the harmonic pulses and the frolicking guitars.
Ryan Merkel is a cool writer guy and contributor all over the internet, from blogs on music to magazines about music to sites about playing music. He is currently founder of SunState Investing and is head editor of the music entertainment magazine, CultureTease. He has written two novels, and is currently working on a third full-length novel, surprisingly, not about music. His novel “Splatter the Noise” earned accolades for independent publishing. Be sure to check out: www.sunstateinvesting.com
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