Disguised As Birds

Black Circles/New Demons

Written by: PP on 06/07/2012 03:58:17

Even after all these weeks of listening to Milwaukee, Wisconsin based Disguised As Birds, I'm still not entirely sure how to wrap my head around their double-EP combo "Black Circles/New Demons" because of the way it toys with two distinctly different and separate sounds on the same album. And no, it's not even a case of one EP sounding different from the other rather than both records alternating with two styles interchangeably.

The record starts off referencing the classic 90s indie-flavored post-hardcore acts like Shiner, Fugazi, and Jawbox, even reaching into progressive rock titans A Perfect Circle in terms of the mood of the songs, while mostly keeping things at a 90s style noisy rock/alternative rock territory, albeit with a progressive leaning. But already on track three and four, the band throws itself head first into low-tempo punk rock. Where the first couple were full of lengthy build ups and intricate constructions, these are more melodic and simplistic in their manner, drawing parallels to Leatherface or Crime In Stereo. If you're scratching your head wondering how those styles fit together exactly, you're not alone. And if you were to ask me, the band are much better at the latter because the songs aren't so drawn out, instead providing good, smoky vocal melodies that are easy to get into.

The two styles are connected by a typically Fugazi esque bass guitar, which rumbles thickly in the soundscape and is generally prominently on display. It's one of those records where the instrument has its own life instead of just following the guitars slavishly, which is a refreshing addition.

"Song About A Gun (Fallen Windows)", the centerpiece of the album, is a nearly seven minute behemoth which sounds more like a loooooooooong indie rock song than anything else. This is usually the point where my attention has drifted elsewhere from the album, which is a shame, because the first half is at least halfway decent. But I guess the second half of the album, which consists of their older EP "New Demons" isn't as good and sounds a little less produced and less well-crafted than the new material, so that's not such a bad thing after all. Here the band go full-on into 90s style shouted indie/post-hardcore a la Fugazi, while throwing in some classic rock influence as well. It's okay, but the dazzling moments are lacking, which reflects my thoughts on the record as a whole as well.

Download: The Robe, Let The Boy Watch, Gladhands,
For the fans of: Fugazi, Shiner, Jawbox, Leatherface, Crime In Stereo
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 06.09.2011
Phatry Records

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