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Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic - Faultline CD (album) cover


Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic


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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Faultline was the first Birdsongs of the Mesozoic album to be released following the departure of founding member and painist Roger Miller. They expanded briefly to a 5 piece featuring 2 saxophonists, one of whom, Ken Field, is still playing with them today. On this album their style also evolved, with large chunks of it recalling the formal structures of Art Zoyd.

The revised line up gave BOTM a more varied sonic pallette, although their characteristic influences (minimalism, chamber rock, contemporary avant garde and ambient) remain essentially the same. The album gets off to a brilliant start with The True Wheelbase, 3 minutes of prime RIO noise featuring some joyously atonal sax honking. The next track is another winner, with sampled drums (When The Levee Breaks via the Beastie Boys, apparently) laying down a killer beat beneath the avant rock weirdness. Following that, however, the album settles into a kind of off kilter formality which features few of the eccentric flourishes that made their early work so engaging. Most of the pieces are propelled by the piano and have the kind of coldly intellectual feel of some Art Zoyd albums, sounding like equations written out as musical scores. Ken Field's soprano sax adds a warmer texture to Chariots of Fire, and there's some nice tenor from Steve Adams on Pteropold, but otherwise much of the album is an oddly cold, clinical exercise. The final track (not included on the original release) is an Eno styled ambient piece of the sort that BOTM do so well, and brings the CD to a satisfactory conclusion.

Faultline is a well written and executed album with some exemplary playing, but it isn't particularly likeable. This may be due in part to the changed line up - Steve Adams left after this album, but Ken Field has remained and made some brilliant contributions to later albums. Birdsongs of the Mesozoic would go on to greater things, but this album is best seen as the first step towards the excellent Pterophonics and Iridium Controversy.

Report this review (#50942)
Posted Sunday, October 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Birdsong of the Mesozoic is a RIO band with roots in the punk movement (Mission of Burma). Their sound is RIO with a strong industrial rock edge, making the band sound like a cross-over between Univers Zero (Uzed) and Coil (Horse Rotorvator).

The only elements reminiscent of their punk past is the short and snappy nature of the tracks presented. And of course the anarchistic attitude towards music which is as strong in RIO as it is in punk. The quality of the pieces is a bit of a problem though. The opening 15 minutes that are vibrant and sweeping, but from Chariots of Fire onwards, the pace slows down and the musicianship gets more subdued. It's an almost ambient and minimalistic style that doesn't seem to fit the band too well and doesn't produce much memorable material.

The title track tries to stir things up again but the damage is done. The album shrinks to mere background music, which is not what you want from your RIO. Overall, the album is interesting enough to find out more about this band, but the next one will have to be better.

Report this review (#299589)
Posted Saturday, September 18, 2010 | Review Permalink

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