maandag 29 februari 2016
Elephanta. Bird On The Wire
The sleeve of Elephanta suggests an album that is eclectic yet serious. colourful yet not too wild. Blotchy yet without spilling all over the place. Light touches, watercolours. A piece of art, giving me the idea that I could make it too, but never do nor will.
Bird On The Wire is a band from Amsterdam with three ladies and a gentleman. Now there's 'Bird On A Wire', the Leonard Cohen song, the Tim Hardin album, there's the movie and now a band that makes a wire a specific one. The music is not a million miles away from the song. Both are full of atmosphere, serious, if not dead serious.
Elephanta is an album full of guitars drenched in echo, singing as if in dreams but all with a solid foundation. The qualification to give and which the band gives itself too, is dreampop. Who am I to disagree? The singing totally qualifies. Rosa Ronsdorf seems to be singing from a dream. The guitars and keyboards like mist hovering over the fields just after dawn. There is some The Edge inspiration in the way of playing, but there's nothing U2 in the songs themselves.
In the song with the Dutch title 'De Storm' this comes forward in a beautiful way. The bass has a star role. Sven Hamerpagt keeps his part going, over which sketchy guitar parts are unleashed. Until the end starts and The Edge really gets his way into the song. A lot of delay repeats the notes and chords, while the band kicks up a storm. A sure sign that this band can do more than just dream. Some turmoil can arise in a quiet dream. Even turn it into a nightmare.
Bird On The Wire likes surprises. 'Sandy Sandman' is the quietest of songs that just floats from the speakers, until the band gives the song a huge twist. The keyboard starts this carnival like swirl. That makes me just go round and round. The song totally changes, while one thing remains constant: the sheer beauty of it all.
No matter how quiet some songs are, Bird On The Wire is able to play the audience deaf. The intro to 'Sing Along With The Silence' must be ear-shattering on stage. Just like the explosion in 'Horses'. (I just found out that people who are in Mezz in Breda right now, i.e. at the time of writing this post, will find this out within a few minutes.) Both songs tone down again. Dynamics is a quality this band loves playing with. The drums keep up a rather different rhythm while the rest of the band does what it it is very good at. Simply float on all that is going on, as if the drums are the water in the Dead Sea.
Bird On The Wire does not take the easy way out. There is not a single song that I'd call pop in the traditional sense of the word. Yet each and every song holds elements that are only there to make something which may not seem pretty at the start, shine the best it can and more, much more. Whether it is the guitar, the bass or the keyboards, all play an important part here.
Elephanta is for fans of Warpaint, to please Erwin Zijleman I'll mention Beach House as well, The Future's Dust and perhaps even people who would like to find out what a mix of the early U2 with Leonard Cohen and The Doors sounds like. In the instrumental parts there is certainly something of that last band. Just listen to the outro of 'BB'. There's no mistaking there.
To come back to the cover. It fits so well. The music at times it is so fleeting, like watercolouring with too much water added. In the end it is firm, the blotches mix perfectly with the solid parts. The music is experimental without losing ground. Bird On The Wire has released a very interesting album that ought to be the next step in a very interesting career. Elephanta is a fascinating, yet beautiful album.
You can listen to 'Horse' here:
or buy on Bol.Com