It’s not all that often a first release is so mature sounding but this is really well crafted and enjoyable. That is down to notably strong musicianship, flowing and occasionally inspired melodies, a nice sense for structure and the excellent vocals of lead singer Matt Lunson.
As is the trend for many a modern pop record, the piano takes over from the guitar as the default lead instrument, unavoidably lending an air of melancholy and wistfulness that complements a strong lyrical sensibility. These songs are in the main (failed) relationship vignettes and the sound reflects that.
In many cases, songs build up from a piano or violin plus voice beginning to a cacophonic close, with strings, horns and a more pounded piano adding texture and depth. Standouts include the opening trio of tracks - ‘Closed Doors’, ‘Little Death’ and ‘Lead Balloon’ – new single ‘Miss Your Mouth’ and title track ‘Black Is The Bird’.
In terms of the sound it’s not hugely original, especially considering the diversity of musical backgrounds within this five-piece and arguably, more songs than strictly necessary start quietly before veering into a default near-bombastic setting for the big finish. That is a decent effect to have in the toolbox, and particularly handy in the live setting, but overuse diminishes its effectiveness somewhat.
Overall though, this is a strong record from a band with excellent prospects (who are, by the way, well worth seeing live if you get the chance).