Review: The Firebird Band

The Firebird Band
“The Setting Sun And Its Satellites”
(Headhunter / Cargo Music)

Incredibly diverse and intelligent indie rock. Name-dropping singer Chris Broach (whose previous band Braid broke much ground in the emo/indie rock world) should give a touch point to the warm direction The Firebird Band is heading.

The opening title track might be a bit dismissible with its keyboard line that sounds like the refrain from the Joan Osborne’s cheesy radio hit, “What If God Was One Of Us” but is wrapped in clean edgy guitar progressions. But aside from that weird introduction, the rest of “The Setting Sun…” is pure creative genius.

Utilizing (but never over using) drum machine loops and keyboard spices, this album offers track after track of slightly experimental indie rock (Dismemberment Plan, Koufax, or shades of Braid). Structures are diverse, but all seem to have a good grasp on the pop hook that the songs always sink into at some point. The beginning of “City” shows off that drum machine, dub mentality as it sets up a moody guitar slip and Broach’s lyrics evoking a PJ Harvey spirit in the lyric, “She’s coming up man-sized” and makes for a sly wink and smile offering.

One of the most commanding tracks is the jerky double hit rhythm that dominates, “New Year” spiced with warbly keyboards that overlay the verses. Fresh indeed. “Around The World” again plays with beats and levels of DJ buzz before stripping it down until just the drums remain. Artistic and willing to play outside the lines of “traditional” arrangements, but without losing the listener in masturbatory wanderings.

A long lost Cure vibe is found in the sparky “Forever” that holds an infectious beat against wah’d out guitars and spiky down strokes that sway and drift with the lyrics. The Firebird Band has managed to embrace just enough of technology to add warmth and diversity, but stick to their indie rock roots to keep this very pure despite the heavy electronic elements.

A great release worthy of attention on so many levels. I’m humbled by how smart this really is.