The Silent Ballet
The Bird Ensemble have crafted a highly enjoyable and mature record that will ea
It is always difficult to tread between subtlety and obviousness, whether in pointing out a piece of food stuck between the teeth of your partner on a first date or when looking for an adequate way to define a band's sound in a review. There are definite pros and cons to both camps, however, and to walk the delicate line that lies in the center displays a gift of maturity and competence in whatever situation or medium applied. While this review may not exhibit that finesse, The Bird Ensemble's first full length, Migration, is an apt example of a post-rock band knowing how to make a firm point without going overboard.
The album is split into two sections, each with four parts, offering an almost literary build-climax-resolution format of chiming guitars, beautiful repetitive melodies, driving peaks, and delicate lullabies. The opening track sets the tone of the album - melodic intertwining guitars that ebb and flow, never giving too much away, yet never leaving more to be desired. Each track continues without break form the last, leading to the album's centerpiece "Pt. I No. 4. " The dynamic shifts precluding as well as the climax at the end of "Pt. I No.4" are evident but never exaggerated. Instead of layering distorted guitar over distorted guitar (as most current post-rock bands depend on to create intensity), "Pt. I No.4" coalesces into a mesmerizing state of repetitive bliss. Never overplaying its hand, the repetitive riff quells before even the faintest odor of triteness wafts in.
While the subsequent peaks in the latter half of the album purposefully never reach the height of its predecessor, the resolving tracks become somewhat distracted by the introduction of new characters. This is mainly directed towards the bells and woodblock that comprise most of "Pt. II No.6." The progression of the album was well planned, however something slightly derails during the middle of the second part. The discernment between subtlety and the obtuse is still ever-present, yet the cohesion of the latter tracks never forms as completely as Pt. I, leaving the resolution in an immature state.
Overall, The Bird Ensemble have crafted a highly enjoyable and mature record that will easily entertain those inclined to ambient or bombast alike. Their precision to detail and ability to maintain interest without crossing the line of monotony or excess is extremely impressive. If only I had listened to Migration earlier and learned from their example I might have scored a second date.