First Look: Exploring Birdsong

Hometown: Liverpool, England
Album: Dancing in the Face of Danger, out March 24th via Long Branch Records

RIYL: Short Story Collections. Post-apocalyptic Fiction. Dancing.

How we come upon our compunctions is fascinating. One of my first reading loves was short stories – hell my cat, Monti, is named after my favorite “The Cask of Amontillado” – and yet I basically had refused to read anything under novel length for years for some reason (OK, I like to get lost and invested into a story), but a few collections recently reminded me why shorter can be just as good, if not better, than regular length. Exploring Birdsong have explored both sides of my weird internal debate with their two EPs. Their debut was a full concept, while their latest truly does feel like a post-apocalyptic short story collection, imbued with wonder, hope, darkness, and fear. Each of these five songs feels completely distinct and yet beautifully connected. Musically, I’m reminded of TesseracT going full Porcupine Tree and Kate Bush, which means this is sassy, soulful, and the kind of technical that’s hip-shaking. In other words, this is my shit, and if you like any of those artists or proggy or piano-driven music, you’ll be running up that (digital) hill in March. As to the thematic underpinnings, I was right for once:

“It’s quite dark, thematically. The title Dancing in the Face of Danger sums up what this record is about, really. It basically relates to two situations; people’s ignorance even when faced with potentially catastrophic consequences (climate change denial, etc), or reversely, the human reaction of knowing that something awful could happen at any time, but still making the most of the short time we have. Optimism in the darkest of times, basically.”

“Lyrically, you’re right to reference a short story collection,” they add. “We wouldn’t call this a concept record in the traditional sense, but each song definitely has its own tale to tell. There are five different mini concepts rather than one over arcing story, and since The Thing with Feathers was so heavily conceptual, we wanted to take DITFOD in a different direction. However, no matter what we create, when we release any music, ownership is handed over to the listener. We want whoever takes the time to listen to our music to be able to put their own interpretation on the lyrical content and make it theirs.”

Regarding the step up between records:

“The main thing we wanted to express musically was growth. We put out our first EP – The Thing With Feathers – in late 2019. Shortly after that, the world came to a standstill with COVID. We had so much time between the release of that record and the start of recording process for Dancing in the Face of Danger that our listening habits and tastes had grown, so we only felt it right to reflect that within the songs. We all listen to so much different music that we don’t ever think we’ll settle on one ‘sound’, but for now, this feels pretty close to what encompasses us as a band. Whereas the songs on TTWF were centred completely around piano parts, DITFOD is a bit more scattergun – synths, drums, vocals, and other elements will be often the driving force. We think this has helped the overall scale of the way we sound to be much bigger and is a natural progression from TTWF.”

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