Birds of Avalon | Record Review | Indy Week
Pin It

Birds of Avalon 

Outer Upper Inner
(Volcom Entertainment)

Listen!

If you cannot see the music player below, download the free Flash Player.

click to enlarge 3.5musled_review_birdsofava.gif

With its debut LP, last year's Bazaar Bazaar, Birds of Avalon had something to prove: This was The Cherry Valence splinter cell that didn't keep the name, the one that adulterated the straight-ahead force of the source with a dose of textural psychedelics and scorching prog. The band mostly rose to the challenge, using the harmonize-and-diverge guitars of Cheetie Kumar and Paul Siler like sling shots for a rhythm section of heavy rocks. Alas, the disc lived its 35 minutes in italics, a bit breathless and impatient: From the swagger of the chunky "Superpower" to the searing single "Horse Called Dust," Bazaar Bazaar sometimes felt like offering proof of potency meant racing to the finish line. And because BOA made haste, its influences sometimes felt more like templates.

Burden of proof met, Outer Upper Inner—the band's excellent six-track EP, lovingly recorded by Mitch Easter to tape—is where the strain comes out: Birds of Avalon feels relaxed but not content, confident but not overly so. Its pop enthusiasm shines brightly, especially on magnetic opener "Measure of the Same," guided by Craig Tilley's sweet singing and a heavy Merseybeat that skips along a playful turnaround. But "The Reeds," perhaps the band's most accomplished and convoluted heavy track to date, steels the edge. Scott Nurkin's drums overrun everything. The guitars wind and bite through tight little passes. Tilley attacks his lines about phantoms and shadows like a warrior. He's never been more convincing as a hard-rock frontman.

But it's at ease that Birds of Avalon takes the most chances: Cheetie Kumar sings the piano-built "Hazy 98," and bassist David Mueller augments the melody with a saxophone. From behind his drumkit, Scott Nurkin even leads the closer "Keep It Together, Thackery." And it sounds so perfect, like a band finally staking its own territory, wider than we could have ever guessed.

No local dates are scheduled for Birds of Avalon, but Outer Upper Inner is out March 18 on Volcom Entertainment.

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Record Review



Twitter Activity

Comments

Where is the Q and A with Pepper?

by Alex Marsh on Record Review: Hardcore Titans Corrosion of Conformity Bring Pepper Keenan Back Into the Fold (Record Review)

There's bass in this. It's not a duo, at least in the recordings. …

by Steve Grothmann on Record Review: Raleigh's Naked Naps Explore Urgency on Year of the Chump (Record Review)

Most Recent Comments

Where is the Q and A with Pepper?

by Alex Marsh on Record Review: Hardcore Titans Corrosion of Conformity Bring Pepper Keenan Back Into the Fold (Record Review)

There's bass in this. It's not a duo, at least in the recordings. …

by Steve Grothmann on Record Review: Raleigh's Naked Naps Explore Urgency on Year of the Chump (Record Review)

Remember that time the "journalist" took to the comments section to fire off a snarky response when called out on …

by JayDubz on Record Review: Raleigh's Naked Naps Explore Urgency on Year of the Chump (Record Review)

Pretty sure that if the press release we received had mentioned Chris Grubbs, the article would have reflected that crucial …

by David Klein on Record Review: Raleigh's Naked Naps Explore Urgency on Year of the Chump (Record Review)

Pretty sure John Meier hasn't been in this band for quite some time and Chris Grubbs wrote and recorded this …

by JayDubz on Record Review: Raleigh's Naked Naps Explore Urgency on Year of the Chump (Record Review)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation