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

BANTAM TO BEHEMOTH

Birds And Buildings

 

Eclectic Prog

4.27 | 433 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Magnum Vaeltaja
5 stars To those who say that prog is dead, look no further.

Anything that Dan Britton is involved with has its own unique spin on the preconceived notions of what progressive music should sound like. The man is a true creative genius and a real visionary. So it shouldn't serve as any surprise that this quartet adheres to Britton's usual platinum standard. In fact, Birds and Buildings may very well be the finest prog band of the new millennium, and their debut album "Bantam To Behemoth" is the crowning glory of this project's output (thus far, at least, assuming no new albums pop up under their name). A bold claim? Perhaps, but I feel that there are very few other bands in the world right now who can compete.

So what exactly does Birds and Buildings sound like? Well, a little bit of everything. Others have cited such influences as King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Van der Graaf Generator, Genesis, Magma, Soft Machine, Zappa, and all of their cousins. While these are good reference points as far as timbres, these influences are generally fleeting. Only occasional stylistic homages, if you will. The composition and scope of this project is a completely newly forged path. There's nothing on here that would make you think Birds and Buildings are mere clones. This is all killer, no filler, baby! Every bar, every phrase, every track, is a brand new musical invention.

Now, with that in mind, you may be a bit worried at this point that the album comes across as cold and academic. Fortunately, not the case! This is music that truly lives and breathes, and while it doesn't swim smoothly from melody to melody a la symphonic prog, there are emotional peaks and troughs, oodles of tasty tension and release, and some genuinely evocative atmospheres. The album also chameleons its way through a wide variety of approaches, from the uptempo jazz-rock workouts of "Birds Flying Into Buildings" or "Chakra Khan" to classically-driven pastoral ballads like "Caution Congregates and Forms A Storm", the latter feeling not unlike Genesis' "Trespass" at times. So even if you aren't crazy about avant- garde music, you're still likely to find something to enjoy on here.

There are a few points of contention with this release. Namely, the production, which seems to be entirely analogue, is quite rough. Consequently, the vocals seem very out of place, sitting too low in the mix to sound intelligible. However, this seldom distracts from the mostly instrumental content of the album, and certainly doesn't diminish the absolute creative prowess on display here. As I've said before, this is completely fresh, new, original music. So if that sounds seductive to you - and why wouldn't it, given the saturation of depressive Steven Wilson clones and forgettable retro prog? - then give this a try. Indulge.

This is an absolutely essential release for fans of complex, eclectic prog; a modern masterpiece. 5 stars.

Magnum Vaeltaja | 5/5 |

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