Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Move Over Fleet Foxes

...because here come Bowerbirds with a record just as good as yours.

Although the real species of bird is from Australia, this "nu-folk" trio hails from Raleigh, North Carolina and is the brainchild of singer/songwriter Phil Moore. Moore, along with accordianist Beth Tacular and drummer Matt Damron (haha), have been at it since 2006 and released their first album, Hymns for a Dark Horse in 2007. They have even toured with fellow folk-rockers the Mountain Goats, and John Darnielle was very impressed with the band, calling them his "new favorite band in forever." With such an accolade, the Bowerbirds now give us their latest offering, Upper Air.

Upper Air may be very similar to Hymns for a Dark Horse, a record which I am only vaguely familiar with. Something wasn't as cohesive with that first album, however, as it is with their follow up. Here, the songs seem to flow seemlessly into each other, while still finding ways for each track to stand out. "House of Diamonds," the lead track, sets the pace for the record, with Moore's Andrew Birdesque vocals (and lyrics, for that matter, too), perfect harmonies, and strummy tempo that wouldn't sound out of place on The Sunset Tree. The 'birds tend to wear thier influences on thier sleeves without sounding hackneyed. The second track, "Teeth," brings Tacular's accordian in as the bass line and her pitch-perfect harmonies along with Moore's vocals once again. Not so much "Laika," but more swelling like "4th of July, Asbury Park." "Northern Lights" is an accoustic number that sounds like a lost Heartbreaker outtake and a perfect showcase for Moore's lyrics, as he shakily croons, "I don't expect a Southern girl/To know the Northern lights."

Even though I just wrote my midyear music report a week ago, you can count Upper Air in as one damn good album that will certainly be on the list at the end of the year. I can only see this album getting better on a crisp morning in Fall, as the album cover sorta evokes with those golden-brown sunset-ish colors. Give Upper Air a few spins and it will unravel itself as this year's answer to Fleet Foxes...who are getting too much attention right now, anyways.

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