Birdstriking ~ Holey Brain | Album Review

The story goes that He Fan and Wang Xinjiu were out watching their favourite band Carsick Cars play a venue in Beijing when they met.

They soon decided, by soon we mean that night, that they could probably match their heroes in terms of musical talent. They banded together to form their own band in 2009, which would later become Birdstriking.

Two years later and they were signed to the same label as Carsick Cars. Their first record at Maybe Mars was controversial in its own rite, due to the fact that the album was banned in China.

Certain lyrics in the song Monkey Snake raised the ire of government censors. The band toured around The UK with Brian Jonestown Massacre, collecting new fans, while their old fans were forced to find the songs on the other side of The Great Chinese Firewall.

Interestingly, all of those songs on that self~titled first effort are in English, while on their follow~up, Holey Brain, they seem to have lumped just a pair of English songs into the mix.

That makes for highly interesting listening. Without understanding what they say, the music sets the tone for them.

They have been pinned down as propigators of Noise Rock and Psyche Rock, and there are certainly shades of either movement in their music, but the end product ultimately sounds altogether classic and middle of the road.

They have made an album that is catchy and easy on the ear. Their use of three guitars allows for much experimentation, and many lines of rhythm and melody above the vocals.

The rhythm guitar can sound an awful lot like weather at times, like the foundation of a particular atmosphere. They sometimes remind one of Bloc Party around the time of Weekend in the City.

Those sorts of soaring, uplifting melodies infuse the listener with an unshakable joy. Thats why they sound like they might be more crossover hit than sullen geniuses.

The best comparison I can make for the Beijing based band is with fellow big city rockers, Parquet Courts. The Courts are a band who deviate wildly from the curremt effect heavy music landscape. Their slacker rock is effected by guitars and drums and bass, the good old-fashioned way.

It seems like Birdstriking also prefer the use of pedals to the use of synthesizers, and all the better.

The end product of three years work is an album that has 1. gotten past the censors, 2. filled this reviewers day with joy and 3. marks itself as a statement by Chinese musicians.

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