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Lovebyrd - Lovebyrd (2015) review

Lovebyrd - Lovebyrd (Hairy Records, 2015)

I don’t know where Lovebyrd has been hiding, but their debut album, the self-titled Lovebyrd, is being released by Hairy Records on my birthday and it already sounds like they’ve been around for years.  They have a simplistic, mellow, laidback feeling to their music; shoegaze tripping through wave after wave of reverberation and jangling shimmering percussion onthe entirety of their 10 track debut album.  “Spinning Around”,which was previously available on Lovebyrd’s EP cassette tape from the beginning of this year (2015), opens up Lovebyrd like the glistening psychedelic gates of some kind of paisley paradise.  There’s a melodic, warm, enveloping melody that oozes out of your speakers and gunks up the needle, dripping from your poresand beading up on your skin like sweat before long.  The angelic voice of Steffi Krauth is what really makes these tunes, minimalist sounds, and slowly shifting arrangements that comprise Lovebyrd standout.  The dream-pop label drifts slowly up like smoke rising from a crumpled joint pursed in your lips, smoke exhaling from the undulating guitars that clamor and rattle in the distance of “We’re Shining Through”.
 Although it was available on the cassette EP, I don’t know ifthey’re the same recordings – and either way it sounds just as at home on this angelic slab of wax as it did on the tape that preceded it.  The abrupt end of ”We’re Shining Through” leads the listener directly into the echoing chambers of the third track, “Floating Up”.  “Floating Up” is the first song on the LP not to be featured on the original EP tape, and you can tell straight away.  The writing and composition are just a little less muddy, more concentrated, and absolutely gripping from the moment that it starts.  The hollow cavernous walls of sound instantly recall the guitar work of The Byrds and Jefferson Airplane while also showing off Lovebyrd’s unabashed Tame Impala influences.  There’s a very almost, dare I say it, Oasis vibe to “Floating Up” as well.  It has that hazy Beatles-esque swagger that so very few people are able to conjure up without becoming either completely consumed orlosing their sound in.  Slithering through the finale of the song it’s hard to imagine why I haven’t heard anyone mention The Raveonettes in the same sentence as Lovebyrd before.  The thundering fuzzy tentacles of sound that erupt from “Shot From The Sun” only help to reinforce this idea, the simplistic repetitive guitar line crunching and popping above the dreamy vocals and vibrating drum track.  It’s interesting how well the combination of material originally written for the cassette EP and the stuff done specifically for this 12” work together.  A lot of times you can easily pick out earlier compositions from bands as they move into their first release, but not always so with Lovebyrd.  “Shot From The Sun” is a much needed dose of psychedelia, a sweet shot in the arm for the album pretty early on.  Lovebyrd draw you in with fuzzy, dreamy, melodies before then slowly begin to supplant heavier and heavier tones,heaping more and more distortion to the guitar and thus allowing the vocals to waver atop them like some sort of guardian angel.  “Nothing Is Real” is actually the first Lovebyrd song that I ever heard, and even now when I listen to it, it’s easy to remember why I was instantly hooked.  As gentle and kind as it is menacing and heavy “Nothing Is Real” is the perfect primer course for Lovebyrd as a band, and happily finds a perfect home here in the middle of their debut album.  “Nothing Is Real” doesn’t quite have the same amount of in your face distortion as “Shot From The Sun” does, but somehow it manages to feel even heavier and more urgent.  This is probably in large part due to the ephemeral vocal track that croons through the entirety of the song, teamed with a guitar that at times sounds more like a sitar than just a regular six-string axe, with added effects and you have a recipe for ensuring that anyone who makes it this far is going to be flipping to the other side of this LP ravenously searching for more of their psychedelic dream sequence fix!  “Magnetic Levitation” kicks off a string of songs that were written specifically for the album and I think also begins to demonstrate just how much Lovebyrd has grown as a band, even in as little as less than a year.  The instrumental “Magnetic Levitation” instantly transports the listener off of the planet, onto some serene landscape far from the prying eyes of anotherliving soul.  Sanguine strands of smoothly melding sound convalesce and blend to make way for “Floating Down” but “Magnetic Levitation” leaves you wanting more.  It’s not easy to stick an instrumental song in the middle of an album, they normally just don’t work for one reason or another when crammed in between a bunch of other stuff, but man, oh man, am I glad that Lovebyrd kept “Magnetic Levitation” around as it may be my favorite song on the album.  “Floating Down” picks the energy level up again a bit, bringing back memories of the more easy-going album openers, while still continuing to expand the scope of the music and make things feel like the album is still opening up into a never ending tundra of relaxation and infinite echoes, gleefully bounding and leaping about the open niches of the soundscape.  “Floating Down” is one of those rare psychedelic tracks that you hear where you know you could just as easily be listening to it on an underground radio station broadcasting out of some enlightened individual’s backyard, as some random top 40 station; a rare breed indeed.  I’m still kind of unsure as to how Lovebyrd sound so genuinely original, while still wearing their influences on their sleeve and still make it all work.  I’m not going to ask too many questions though, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, right?  Finally “Black Sweet Sunny” sets pace for the ending of the album, brining an urgent distorted choir of flanged guitar and vocals to the party.  The continuous call of Steffi’s voice seems to be the only thing holding the song together as it continues to start and stop, lurching back and forth between life and in-animation; lingering on the very precipice of silence and darkness before fading out into the final two tracks of the album, “Prologue & Leave Me Blind”.  Reversed guitar slices through the slowly building tension like a knife through butter, leaving an exposed nerve of sparse pulsating drums beats that flitter and glimmer like stars in the blackness of the night sky.  Erupting from the quiet restrained opening, Steffi’s vocals instantly make the song.  I don’t mean to gush, but it really isn’t often that you hear a lead singer with pipes like Steffi Krauth.  There’s a sincerity that you can’t fake, and a sultry sense of naivety and sensitivity that exudes from every line of vocals on Lovebyrd.  It’s her voice’s inescapable beauty and horrifically captivating siren’s song call that keeps beckoning and pulling you back in to the music time after time.  I don’t say it often, but this is going to be a classic album someday.  I don’t know how long it will take for people to catch on to Lovebyrd’s sound, but when they do this is going to become one of those mythical albums that everyone talks about and no one can understand why they don’t own it yet.  But you don’t have to be one of those people.  This LP is limited to only 300 hand numbered copies on Smoke White Vinyl and it’s not going to stick around long.  Make sure to pick up a copy of Lovebyrd here and keep an eye on Lovebyrd because if this first album is any indication on where they plan on heading from here, I can’t even begin to fathom what the next one is going to be like!
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Review made by Roman Rathert/2015
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