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Birds And Buildings - Bantam to Behemoth CD (album) cover

BANTAM TO BEHEMOTH

Birds And Buildings

 

Eclectic Prog

4.24 | 324 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I've wanted to write about this album for some months now and never quite found the right words to describe my feelings for it. I have an immense respect for the mastermind behind it, Dan Britton, and the various works he's been involved in that I've had the pleasure of hearing. Of them, Birds and Buildings is the one that seems to have earned the most praise, and to my ears this is rightly so.

The opening track "Birds Flying Into Buildings" lives up both to it's own name and that of the album. There are so many notes flying around it's impossible to believe that as a listener you don't feel lost - that as players the band is able to hold it all together with such skill. Yet this does not sound like a shred fest, like disjointed noise, but like a coherent, strong, amazing, jazzy, symphonic, keyboardy, saxy, sexy, dynamic, noisy, elegant piece of music. It's one of those rare tracks that are so strong, the rest of the album almost becomes irrelevant because it is already worth the purchase based on the one song.

You know one thing I loved about Yes? I loved that they had the balls to call a track "Siberian Khatru". I have no idea what that even means, but it sounds cool, the music is great, and you know there's a certain subset of people who, if they found out you were listening to a song called "Siberian Khatru", would have to hear it themselves just to get a glimpse, maybe, at what a Khatru is. There's a certain feeling associated with a cool sounding, yet difficult to understand, song name. Well, Dan must have thought so too, for this album is full of tracks whose name evoke that mysterious-yet-cool feel. Tracks 4-6 are especially impressive, with "Yucatan 65: The Agitation of the Mass" standing out (and reminding again of Yes' Total Mass Retain section in Close to the Edge).

Of course, cool sounding track names can easily become huge disappointments if the music doesn't live up to the mystique. Well, the music on this album does. It doesn't take long for the band to show that on top of the chaos that they are somehow in complete control of, they also know how to be beautiful, even delicate - often, at the same time as the chaos! - songs. Tunguska is an excellent example of this; while the music may be ever changing, the lines complex and never straight forward in their delivery, while ominous sounds abound, this track has an eerie beauty about it. It is also one of the better examples of Dan's vocals on this album, being recorded in such a way that they blend in with the instruments instead of standing above, a fact that gives them a unique feel. Dan's vocal abilities certainly aren't the most technically impressive, but Dan knows his own limits, so works with what he can do instead of pushing himself too far. The result are somewhat airy, layered vocals that really work well with the music.

Two other tracks that I find particularly worth pointing out are Chronicles of the Invisible River of Stone (featuring the lovely vocals of Meghan Wheatley, and probably the most beautiful track on the album) and Battalion (which features some amazing lyrics as well, my favorite in that respect, on top of being amazing musically).

The album is, from beginning until the somewhat surreal ending spoken-words of the last track, a treasure, a truly great listen, and in my mind the best thing Dan Britton has done so far.

TheGazzardian | 4/5 |

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