Radio Birdman

Record review

Phases & Stages

Radio Birdman

Zeno Beach (Yep Roc)

Sydney, Australia, 1974: two med students, one an Ann Arbor native christened on the Stooges and MC5, hook up with a surfer, an experienced rhythm section, and a second guitarist. "Aloha Steve & Danno" then shot the curl of punk rock history. 2001 essential, Sub Pop's Radio Birdman, The Essential (1974-1978), leading with "Aloha," misses only the group's rabid Roky Erickson cover, "You're Gonna Miss Me." Zeno Beach, Birdy's first album since disbanding prior to the release of their second LP, gushes Motor City like two years not 25 have passed since the last disc. Rob Younger's tunnel vox still spits the backspray of Deniz Tek's Epiphone echo and Chris Masuak's shadowy riffs, though with new millennial production, the singer's thick-y sweet recalls the Cure's Robert Smith. Melodic bomp, such as "Die Like April," tolls like the UK's second wave, especially "Heyday," opening with, "Who were you in your heyday? Did you blow-up, or lose your face?" Reaching daylight on opener "We've Come So Far (To Be Here Today)," cement truck follow-up "You Just Make It Worse," and the combustible "Connected," Zeno Beach shimmies 10 minutes too long, and 4:20 short of Tek's Silver Surfer perfection, "Descent Into the Maelstrom." Dominance! Sub-mission.


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