Friday, March 26, 2010

String theory.

You know, there's a place for string quartets and grand pianos, obviously Elton Johns bathroom, a Guns'n'Roses video or one of those posh gala events i never get invited to spring to mind, either way, there's one place they don't belong and it's in Birds of Tokyo's songs.

This week i've been mostly listening to "Broken Strings", the Perth bands bands filler live album while we await this years new studio album, and well, i don't love it. As a fan i was compelled to buy it, but for the most part, and more importantly to me - on my favourite songs - it's a fail.

Let's be honest here, Birds of Tokyo don't write the best lyrics in the world, but what they lack in lyrical depth they more than make up for in the strength of Ian Kenny's vocals and the structure of the songs themselves. Layers of guitar and drums is nothing new in rock, but Birds of Tokyo deliver them with a raw energy and passion that take those oh so simple lyrics and make them into something memorable.

Live, Birds of Toyko are one of the loudest scariest bands i've ever seen - and i've seen Ministry - so i can see why in a perverse sort of way why they would want to experiment with the whole orchestrated thing, but personally, i found the re-arrangement of a lot of songs took away much and gave back very little. It's interesting from a musical study point of view i guess, but it won't convince anyone new that they are a great band.

Lets take "Broken Bones", in it's unmolested, original guise. It's like a caged animal, full of energy and menace, waiting to get out and fuck some shit up. It's a brooding thing that once released it grows and grows, Kenny's vocals swoop and dive and give the song an urgency that it's been robbed of on the live album. And that's a shame.

So lets hear it as it was first intended, in full flight, loud and proud. From 2008's Universes, the bands second album, and the one that got them noticed by the nation. It's the full 8 minute video, if you like what you hear - and how can you not - then stick around for the follow on track "Silhouettic" and the second half of the rather disturbing video story.

Loud, loud, and louder if you please.


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