Society always celebrates the records that top the Billboard 200 album chart. Back of The Billboards is a Music Times weekly segment that looks at the opposite end: the new record that finished closest to the back of the Billboard 200 for the previous week. We hope to give a fighting chance to the bands you haven't heard of.
Week of 11/08/2013
WHO: A Lot Like Birds
WHAT: No Place
WHY?: The album art for A Lot Like Birds' No Place tells much of the story behind the band's instrumental style, if you weren't already aware. The image presents a cartoon home, billowing out multiple colors of smoke, filled with and surrounded by images both horrific and humorous. There's noting especially laugh-worthy in A Lot Like Birds' music, but the theme of incongruity certainly seeps into, or from, the band's music.
Being a member of the loosely defined post-hardcore genre, incongruity is a positive. The band balances between the experimental time signatures of The Mars Volta, and mind-boggling assault of the Dillinger Escape Plane (it's also tough to deny the vocal similarities between Birds' Kurt Travis and Dillinger's Greg Puciato).
So Birds definitely has the "post" part down. And the hardcore?
If through nothing else, the lyrical themes of this record resonate with those we've heard before from hardcore, namely struggling to find a place where you belong. Birds puts a more creative spin on the feeling however, tying it literally to a home, or place of residence. "No Nurture" and "Recluse" explore the theme, but perhaps it's best explained through the spoken word track "Myth of Lasting Sympathy," which explores a youth's relationship with his closet, and his fear of the dark. The album is sprinkled with many spoken interludes that help the listener piece together the madness of the music.