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Icebird
Magnitude
Flying Squirrel Records
www.icebirdband.com


Icebird has a lot of things going for them; unfortunately production isn't one of them. Harkening back to early nineties alternate garage rock a la' Sonic Youth and even Nirvana circa Bleach, this three-piece creates an authentic grunge feel that alternates between loud and soft with subtle rhythm changes. A lot of what makes this album successful are the songs themselves; they are focused and straight-forward providing memorable lines and singable vocals, and break from their structure just enough to remain interesting. Each song varies its own personal intensity through the course of the track, making it hard to define whether a song is strictly hard or soft. This is an interesting effect that heightens the feel of the album and keeps you guessing as the album progresses.

The major hindrance by far is the production. While it adds to the garage air of the material it is not uniform and so sporadic to the point of distracting from the record. The drums are muddled and chaotic, on the edge of too much at some points and too little at others. The guitar also shows this mentality which is all the more apparent because the band is a trio. When power chords are used the space is filled nicely, when single note lines are used it almost becomes too hollow. The bass suffers the most from the recording levels as each song constantly gyps the instrument of its due presence. Ultimately, intensity and energy are just plain lost due to the lackluster recording.

So why bother? Because the material is damn good and even if it is a partial amount of the whole, there is still a good amount of energy and vibe to be had. Also, there is hope that the band might latch onto a good producer who can capture their true essence and take them that next step towards greatness. Personally I will continue to keep this in the rotation because it reminds me of all of the crappy good albums I have listened to - so I get a nostalgic fix just putting on the headphones and being carried away to a different time and place.

-bishop

Track listing:
1) The Clap The Burn The End
2) Voids
3) The Starting Line
4) You're An Animal
5) My Second Guessing
6) Ohio
7) Birthday Party
8) The Real Pretend
9) Shark-toothed Boy
10) Hollywon't
11) ABABA BABABA


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Mike Doughty



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