Friday, November 11, 2011

Terror Bird on Night School Records

Got another one in today from UK's Night School Records, who put out that great Divorce single, this one is from Terror Bird, who I first heard on Atelier Ciseaux/La Station Radar, and the Vancouver 3 piece, (or now married duo?) offers up a couple more dark, minimal pop tracks with Nikki's great vocals, the matte ink screened sleeve is really nice and these all come in super thick heavyweight mylar outer sleeves, a nice touch for this kind of handmade object.
The A-Side's "Outside" manages as Terror Bird does to make this haunting distant sound attractively poppy. It's a little bit deceptive, drawing you in combining Nikki's soulful vocal against the cold machine instrumentation. Like the most successful bands in the genre there's no attempt to cover up the source sounds, the percussion is obviously thin and manufactured, reveling in it's inability to emulate the real thing. The keyboard synth sounds are direct line in and slightly in the red, with a subtle layer of distortion covering everything. What really gives the tracks their unmistakable humanity and feeling is Nikki's breathy vocal. Like Zola Jesus, it's unmistakably unique, she's just one of those people born with a great voice and natural phrasing, layered over itself or far off buried over a telephone line, you're listening to a real makes me want to go back and dig out old Siouxsie albums. She's delivering her lyric in a loose, laid back way, under a heavy delay, never struggling or competing with the rest of their sound, it's as much atmospheric as the overdriven synth. As much for me as it's about the vocal, it also feels like it's trying to hide in the shadows, to stay away from getting too optimistic. It's a dark ride that's settled in to the isolation, like there's no fight left.
The B-Side, "When I Woke Up" highlights an overwhelming repetition from a simple piano melody over live sounding drums this time that reinforces that trapped no-wave feeling further while Nikki really gets into a low register tortured soul. She instills all the feeling over both of these tracks, this one building into a more epic losing control sound. Insanely talented, with a clearly definitive unique sound right out of the gate.

Their full length is on Night People records...'night' labels.... that's no coincidence.

Go get this one from Night School, along with that Divorce single and count yourself lucky.

Debut UK 7" from Canadian Terror Bird. 2 tracks of luscious home-recorded DIY gloom pop of the most romantically forlorn quality. Limited to 300, Screen-printed sleeve, insert, stamped labels. Artwork by Gina Baber.

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