A Lot Like Birds

Plan B

Written by: TL on 10/08/2010 23:31:17

When "Plan B", the debút album of Californian seven-piece A Lot Like Birds, landed among our promos a good while ago, it was a release that caught my eye more than most, yet it was still down-prioritized given that it was submitted in 2010 although it had been out since 2009. Now, however, I've had the time to give it a fair few spins, and the first thought it has sparked in my brain which is dying to burst out is that these days it is so much easier to put music out than it was in the old days.

Now the reason I would say such a thing is that had this been back in those days when only one band in a hundred got signed and hence had the opportunity to make a record, someone would have inevitably turned ALLB away with a rejection along the lines of "figure out what you want to sound like before you come back". You see "Plan B" is a record where the band's seven members throw a myriad of instruments and inspirations into the mix, and present an eclectic mixture of results.

Songs like "Ted Bundy's Thanksgiving Dinner" and "When The Wolf Is Counting Sheep" for instance, feature eerie moods and abrasive breaks and screaming, making the listener think of Rolo Tomassi or maybe even Iwrestledabearonce, while interludes such as "(1.20.8.5.14.1)" feature folksy string arrangements, and a six-minute epic, such as "Hallows Or Horcruxes" builds post-rock-ish cinematics on a characteristic guitar signatures.

So you see, it's kind of hard to figure whether this is an album to enjoy for what it builds or for its moments of destruction, simply because each track feels like it's an entirely new band playing. You don't believe me? Listen to "Your Ex Marked My Spot" which adds a tech-y post-hardcore song to the variety I've already presented, or highlight "Sesame Street Is No Place For Romance" which goes through enough elements for me to not even want to classify it.

All together, this freakshow does indeed have some charm however, as it succeeds in creating a unique sound and a good mood, especially courtesy of intro quotes (think "Hit Or Miss" here New Found Glory fans) from movies like Star Wars and Eight Days A Week. Its problem is that the listener can easily get lost during periods of seemingly pointless experimentation/destruction, and I think ALLB would actually be better off outgrowing those elements (or at least using them more thoughtfully). I'd say that essentially, "Plan B" is the sound of a lot of different and ambitious ideas, showing potential for greater things, if they can come together better on future releases.

Download: Hallows Or Horcruxes, Your Ex Marked My Spot, Sesame Street Is No Place For Romance
For The Fans Of: Rolo Tomassi, Damiera, bands of a 'changeling'-kind of nature
Listen: myspace.com/alotlikebirds

Release Date 2009
**Self-released**

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