Written By Simon Chisholm
Birds Of Tokyo released their self-titled third album in 2010. This LP represents a forward progression from previous full-length releases ‘Day One’ and ‘Universes.’ Fast taking over the Australian music scene, Birds of Tokyo have returned with a strong album full of infectious, rocking tunes. This album won the ‘Best Rock Album’ Aria Award.
The opening notes of the album are like a breath of fresh air. Not in that it is unlike anything heard before, its just makes you feel lighter than air. The opening track is a great introduction, creating excitement for the whole album. It reels you in.
Birds Of Tokyo have taken on a more radio friendly sound, most apparent in the phrasing of the clearly articulated lyrics and the strong hooks. Also, the use of layered instrumentation and the mixing process have allowed the tracks to be suitably compressed for broadcast while still retaining musical quality.
Each track is both lyrically and musically progressive. The inspired metaphorical lyrics evolve throughout the song to tell the story, boasting rephrasing in the choruses and repeated verses in some cases. Musically, the band plays with instrumentation, adding and subtracting instruments and altering leads and harmonic progressions. Each song uses this progressive nature to tell the story, sometimes unfinished for open interpretation. Let’s be honest, we all like to make our own interpretations and assumptions when it comes to art.
The success of this album is also found in the catchy melodies and the strong rhythm sections. Each song has a thick, full texture, using instrumentation to deliver a full spectrum of sound. Another notable element in these new songs is the guitar work. The guitars seem to have been given a creative licence; it is as if the songs were crafted and developed around the guitars.
I’ve always appreciated Ian Kenny’s lyrics and obtuse vocal phrasing. While there are many fantastic lines on this album, the standout lyric for me is in the song ‘Wild At Heart’: ‘We wear our bruises like watermarks’.
Stand out tracks include ‘Plans’, ‘The Saddest Thing I Know’, ‘Wild At Heart’, ‘Murmurs’, and ‘If This Ship Sinks (I Give In). These tracks are noted due to their catchy hooks and the overall feel of the tracks.
The track most reminiscent of older Birds is ‘The Dark Side Of Love’. The likeness is in Kenny’s vocal phrasing and the overall arrangement of the instrumentation.
Birds Of Tokyo are:
Ian Kenny – Vocals
Adam Spark – Guitar, Vocals, Keys, Programming
Adam Weston – Drums
Anthony Jackson – Bass
Glenn Sarangapany performed piano, keys and organ.
Released independently in 2010. Distributed by EMI music Australia. Produced by Scott Horscroft and Adam Spark.