Portsmouth Herald, April 4 2013 • Christopher Hislop
Brown Bird is one of those bands that you really like a lot, but have a hard time pinning down what it is you like best about ’em. Maybe that’s because they pull from so many different influences. It’s always an exciting time when they release a new record — which will be the case when they hit the Press Room on Saturday, April 6. The new record, “Fits of Reason,” is another stunningly beautiful collection of stories told with an accompaniment of lush soundscapes and rich harmonies. The soundscapes are generally very sparse in arrangement, but fleshed out in a way that makes each and every moment sound absolutely huge. A very world/tribal vibe exists in this latest record.
A small snapshot of an LP by the recently departed Ravi Shankar can be spotted sitting upon the floor on the cover of the record (oh, and the cover is a feat in itself. It’s wild. Literally…;) which in part seems to lead to some of the driving force present on “Fits of Reason.” Though they don’t actually play the sitar (Shankar’s claim to fame), there are moments when you swear you hear it in there. It’s just amazing what this duo — Dave Lamb (guitar, percussion, vocals), and MorganEve Swain (cello, electric bass, upright bass, violin, vocals) — can conjure up with the instruments they do use.
“‘Fits of Reason’ comes from a lyric in one of our new songs called ‘The Messenger,'” said Lamb in a recent interview discussing the new record. “A simple description would be something like a moment of clarity in the midst of an onslaught of useless information presented in an authoritative package by the media or society in general.
“Hopefully the people that listen our music, whether it’s live or from a record, will be moved one way or another. Whether it’s emotionally, intellectually or physically we always enjoy music that moves us and we hope to do the same for our fans. With some music we’re moved by lyrics, some by composition, some by musicianship, some by rhythms and others by a combination of all these things. I guess we’re hoping to reach everybody who listens on at least one of these levels and at least some of the listeners on all of these levels.”
The thing about Brown Bird — and especially with their last couple of records, “Fits of Reason,” and 2011’s “Salt for Salt” — is that you can get lost in any given element that makes up the collective whole of any track. And you’d be right to find enjoyment in that. The real mind-bender is when you open up your consciousness and absorb everything they have going on). It’s astonishing. It really is. It sounds simple on the surface, but the resounding textures and subtle nuances is otherworldly, and, quite honestly, second-to-none.
“We feel like a wider variety of our influences are coming through in the songs on ‘Fits of Reason,’ said Lamb. “Each song has its own feel and inspiration yet still share a common thread that makes them all a part of Brown Bird. We feel like this variety along with the addition of the electric guitar and the electric bass are the natural steps in the evolution of our sound.”
The year is still young, but Brown Bird’s “Fits of Reason,” is clearly one of the best offerings thus far. No stranger to Portsmouth, the show on April 6 will be a celebration through and through.
I’d be remiss to mention the conclusion of our interview, which went like this (and in more ways than one ties a neat bow around the whole package):
Spotlight: Oyster crackers or saltines?
Lamb: Clam chowder = oyster crackers. Chicken soup = saltines. That might be cheating but we’re big on variety.
Noted (and agreed). Variety is good. Brown Bird is good. “Fits of Reason” is good. Check it.