Album Review: Futurebirds
May 7, 2013
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First seen in tb-two*: Futurebirds bloomed from a hearty dose of rock, a pinch of country, a bit of psychedelia, wistful bonfire-lit nights and loads of summer state of mind.
Summer is the freedom of having nothing to do, and the possibility to do anything, and that is what Baba Yaga proudly embodies.
Categorizing Futurebirds as one thing or another cannot be done. They are rock. They are country. They are alternative. They are psychedelic. But they are never just one; they are a perpetually changing genre with one aspect occasionally standing out more than another. Who knew a band could be trippy and twang-y? You could spend time trying to compare them to someone else, but it would be a waste because the associations are artificial.
Virginia Slims opens the album with a bang. The chill demeanor brought on by the meticulously placed pedal steel guitar mixed with a melodic chorus combines into a breezy tune that will transport you to a place where the sounds of the night are not polluted by sirens, construction or cars. Felix Helix layers guitar and pedal steel guitar and an almost tribal-like drumbeat to create another feel-good atmospheric song. St. Summercamp closes the album triumphantly. It is the aural portrayal of the simple bliss of the summertime; walking along the road barefoot, grasshoppers, mossy trees overhead, having somewhere to go but no rush to get there.
Each song is around five minutes and has its own way of slithering in and out of a spellbinding groove. The confidence and sharpness of the execution is improved from their previous albums, but they still seem like they are just having fun and winging it, as if it were the first time they have ever played the song.
Futurebirds’ harmonizing is unique; each voice brings the song to another level of sophistication.
The lead singing duties rotate among Carter King, Thomas Johnson and Daniel Womack, each voice distinct in its own way.
Athens, Ga.,-bred, this band gives character to the music with their Southern charm. Baba Yaga is uncomplicated but with just enough reverb.
I saw them live for the first time at Bonnaroo in 2011. I didn’t know who they were, but they were the first band we decided to watch. The summer had just begun, and the careless spirit had set in.
Though the memories of that humid, dust-filled show are foggy, they obviously made some kind of impression.