The Bye Bye Blackbirds - Houses and Homes CD
The return of classic, progressive pop heralded by The Shins, Beulah,Ted Leo and the Pernice Brothers has produced many followers. But too often today’s young, literate power-pop groups are simply meeting the expectations of their genre without exceeding them. A great guitar-pop band needs to add something special to the canon; the line must be straddled where a song remains universal, while offering inspired innovations from within. The Bye Bye Blackbirds are a great guitar-pop band. On their debut full-length, the band has created a powerful testament to pop music's capacity for depth, beauty, and expressiveness.
With multiple songwriters, each with their own style, the group draws easy comparisons to Big Star, Teenage Fanclub and Buffalo Springfield. The band are true students of song-craft, as eager to cite the influence of consensus progressive-pop geniuses like Elvis Costello, The Go-Betweens and Prefab Sprout as they are the more obscure ones, like recluse song architect Bill Fox, transcendent choirgirl Judee Sill, garage-pop masters The Reigning Sound and criminally ignored Kiwi-rockers Sneaky Feelings.
The band make good on these influences, delivering involved, developed songs built from interweaving guitar hooks and intricate vocal harmonies. The sharp, contemplative lyrics are opaque yet revealing; particular yet universal. The overall sound is graceful and lush, without ever descending into mawkish romanticism. This is the type of pop band that the great John Peel would have championed: a group that offers intelligent and dramatic songs whose charms reveal themselves fully on repeated listens.
These are record store employees with eclectic musical vocabularies; would-be music historians whose compulsive need to explore the foundations of a genre has translated into a talent to rival that of their heroes. The Bye Bye Blackbirds does for guitar pop what Yo La Tengo did for art-rock, Taj Mahal did for the blues, and Bela Bartokdid for European folk music.
An album built on integrity, poetry, and intelligence that transcends mathematic precision to touch the soul: sounds like a recipe for obscurity to me.
1. The Ghosts Are Alright
2. Shed The Skin
3. In Stereo
4. Edge of Town
5. Next Door
6. Original Lights
7. It Only Costs A Dime
8. Leave A Light On
9. Murray Morgan's Last Dream