By: Eric G.
At first Bluebird seems to have one leg in its obvious post-punk roots and the other stretching desperately to reach MTV’s Buzz Bin.’ The thick, thudding bass and the frequent starts and stops give way to the punk shadow that looms large over Bluebird, but the band seems to be fighting its origins with melodies and, specifically, vocal lines that threaten to knock Third Eye Blind off TRL. The vocals are breathy and a tad too emotional so that they sound insincere on the first two songs, but by the third song, evidently, the visions of Carson Daly and screaming teens have escaped them because it’s an aggressive and pummeling piece of punk abrasion. And I don’t just mean it’s fast. It’s not. The vocals are shrieked in a scratchy and erratic manner over a wiry bassline, much like a Gravity Records release. Bluebird is going to be hard to pin down.
It makes you wonder how calculated this album is. Did the band sit back and say ‘well, all we need is one song on the radio to break out’, knowing that even if that didn’t happen they’d still have their punk cred to fall back on. Somehow I doubt it. “Shedding Skin” sounds truly manic. The singer emotes like a supercharged Guy Picciotto. Were those first two songs accidents? It’s like a different band took over. “Low Gear” incorporates some of that Minneapolis noise-rock like Hammerhead with its growling, distorted bass and discordant guitars, but the chorus is too catchy for Amphetamine Reptile fans. Bluebird also seems to have a taste for dirty rock and roll swagger. “Rider” takes its cues from early American punk, but the band never loses its overriding sense of melody. Bluebird has mastered two extreme strengths: caustic punk terror and melodic, introspective rock.
Wait a minute. The ‘Buzz Bin’ bound band from the beginning of the album seems to be back now. “Moonless Night In The Monument” is an unabashed ballad. Pained vocal inflections, guitars that build to a crunching climax, it’s all here. But it’s not bad. The vocals don’t seem as exaggerated as they did on the first two songs. It makes you wonder what kind of crowd this band attracts. Do the punk kids leave when the slow songs start? Do the sensitive kids then scramble to the front to watch the singer croon over the pretty chords? I bet Bluebird sneakily mixes up the set so everybody stays. “Silver Touch” builds to a huge swell of beautiful noise that levels off as the clean vocals float amidst the receding wash of sound. Bluebird ends The Two with a fierce rocker called “Bird On A Wire”, which blends its abrasiveness and softer side masterfully. It’s rare that a band can cast this wide of a net, pinning noisy punk against melodramatic rock, but Bluebird pulls it off with a sense of immediacy and desperation.