The Rosebuds

Record review

Phases & Stages

The Rosebuds

Birds Make Good Neighbors (Merge)

Birds Make Good Neighbors is autumn wrapped up in cashmere: rich, comfortable, welcome. North Carolinian couple Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp know it well on their sophomore album: "I've waited for the leaves to fall, for old John White to save us all," they sing on the galloping "Leaves Do Fall." Crisp's vox, barely heard on the previous Make Out, caffeinates Howard's burnished words with vibrancy and sass. Where their debut swarms with delicious pop from the Sixties, Birds pounces on the swirling acoustics of the Eighties and the heartwarming sentiment of the Nineties. With the reverberating "The Lovers' Rights" and the uplifting resonance of opener "Hold Hands and Fight," Howard and Crisp turn the familiar into something unique. Powerful ("Outnumbered") and emotive ("Warm Where You Lay"), the Rosebuds have broken the indie rock mold of sappy love songs and grief-stricken anthems. The exuberant "Shake Our Tree" writes life's true story: "Before the winter takes hold and the figs dry up cold, the birds all meet in that tree and confess love's what they need." They really do make good neighbors. (The Rosebuds land at the Parish Friday, Nov. 25.)

****

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