August 02, 2022

Alamo Race Track - Birds At Home (2003)

Country: Netherlands
Language: English
Genre: Indie Rock
Label Number: EXCEL96063

© 2003 Excelsior Recordings
Originally released in 2003 but reissued in a different sleeve in 2005, Birds at Home is the debut album by Dutch pop quartet Alamo Race Track. "Don't Frighten Them" starts the album with a brief bit of echoey downtempo electronica, but after that somewhat misleading opening, the group settles down to a crisp brand of guitar-based indie rock oddly reminiscent of the early days of Brit-pop. Pre-OK Computer Radiohead and mid-period Blur are the specific touchstones, with the former most obvious on quietly tense ballads like "Short Leave" and "Life Is Great" (which also includes a bizarre banjo-led country-blues coda) and the latter on jaunty pop tunes like "Summer Holiday" and "Happy Accidents." More of the latter may have been useful, because Birds at Home enters into a rather deadening stretch about halfway through with one slow, atmospheric number after another. Things only pick up about three-quarters of the way through with the album high point "The Low End," a slinky bass-driven groove with falsetto harmonies, and the quirky "Wild Bees," a showcase for bizarre rhythmic shifts, mumbled vocals, and acoustic slide guitars which would have fit brilliantly on any Beta Band album. Unfortunately, the somnolent title track and a belated return to the semi-electronic feel of the opener in the inconclusive closer "Life Like Fire" bring the energy level right back down. A better sense of pacing and dynamics would help Birds at Home considerably, but taken on an individual basis, these well-arranged if slightly familiar-sounding tunes are encouraging enough to bode well for the band's future.

tags: alamo race track, birds at home, 2003, flac,

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