Editor's Rating

For fans of The Fall, The Wolfhounds, Clinic, and the noisy end of the C86 sound ‘Year of Birds’ are a Teesside based post-punk outfit and have just released their new album ‘White Death To Power Alan” The LP out on Odd Box (Wolfhounds) and is their most focused to date whilst still retaining they’re jerky, lurching, DIY trademark sound.Year Of Birds are now comprised of Oli Heffernan (King Champion Sounds, Shrug, Detective Instinct, Houseplants, Ivan The Tolerable) on Bass, Vocals, Guitar and Organ, Danielle Johnson (King Champion Sounds, Witch Hands) on Drums and Paul Coates on Guitar. This album, their first as a three-piece also sees the band debut new processes alongside traditional preferences. It was recorded in a practice room and spare bedroom with a £30 microphone. However, for the first time the band crafted toward the releasing of a specific format.

‘White Death To Power Alan’ was written with the express intention of being an album. Quite out of character for the band it took “took more than a day to record and was mastered by somebody outside the band” In this instance, studio ninja Anthony Chapman, who did such great work on the recent Future Of The Left and Arndales albums.

The in-keeping quirky cover art by Herr Seele, the acclaimed Belgian comic book artist responsible for Cowboy Henk, lends the listener an idea of the sounds within.For me ‘White Death To Power Alan’ has a North-Eastern Gnod vibe to it. Speaking as a Teessider, I can say that I’m warmed by the familiarity of the lo-fi Industrial, flipped finger attitude at the core of the tracks on the album. ‘Cower in the clover’, a favourite, has a Bontempi bounce, ‘Hook’y’ Bassline and a very pleasing punk pogo to it. Where ‘Damp Punts’ and ‘Middle Englander’ are from the protest palette songs like ‘Benefits Mix’ and ‘Electrons’ sizzle and zing like a shroom spiral. Heffernan’s lyrics have both the despondent wit and cynicism of a Mark E Smith (belated Happy Birthday) and the chilling introspective, social observations akin to an Ian Curtis. There’s a distinct Smoggie swagger present here too, especially audible in ‘Plaster Disaster’ and I’m hearing this represents the swagger of their live shows too. Which the band are playing a host of across their native North East England to coincide with the release of the album. They are on the bill with some other great acts to, from fellow Teessiders and new ‘Imagination Engine’ signings ‘Sorry Escalator’, to ‘Nightingales’ and ‘The Wedding Present’.

The band also have a series of videos coming online for ‘Fat’ and ‘Electrons’ and you can see the promo video made by Muuma Wuuno (Jay Schleidt, Ben Uhl and Tyler Luetkehans) for ‘Damp Punts’ below.

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