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BIRD don't really concern themselves with making songs. Hailing from Liverpool, the four-piece prefer to create ominous soundscapes, rolling valleys of dissonant bass folding into frothy pools of echo-laden guitars. At first glance, everything appears quite soft, floating this way and that, building gently but never quite erupting. This is but a trap. This false sense of security is completely set up, coaxed on by distant swathes of tribal drumming.

The vocals initially drop into first track 'Ghost' with an almost nonchalant tone, seeming to interweave within the music rather than sit atop. It's not long before frontwoman Adele Emmas pounces into a higher register though, and that is where her power lies. What at first sounded quite relaxed now comes across distinctly authoritative, siren shrieks piercing straight through the layers of instrumentation. It's a style that comes further into the fore as the record goes on - a tactic seemingly honed chronologically throughout the tracklist.

New single 'A War' takes off in a similar fashion, boasting deceivingly simple progressions, and a hook that justifies their choice to let it out on its own. Lyrically, Emmas is the creator of terrific visual substance here, a trait that gives the sound infinite weighting. Whilst it's obvious that this will be a fan favourite, it is the painfully short 'Bullet' that truly seizes the attention. Relying solely on bass and vocals, it isn't something that's drastically new nor different, yet its execution is faultless. The grinding chords prop up melodic verse, each passing eighth bar surely promising an explosion. It never comes, choosing to seductively boil over into stiff hits of a snare instead. Haunting maybe, sultry for sure. Then it ends. Pick up your wallet on your way out.

'Sea of trees' offers a more pacey version of events, initially bringing to mind the likes PINS and, to some degree, Warpaint. It is a slowing down of tempo mid way through that sets them apart though, it becoming more and more apparent how refined their sound already is. With this record, it's clear they have really taken in what worked on their first two EPs, and added much more depth without overcrowding or overcomplicating. 'I am the Mountain' shows this off best, sounding at once structurally and compositionally accomplished, whilst also sounding unbelievably accessible. It's wholeheartedly a statement of intent, yet you can imagine a shortened version becoming a surefire hit.

'The Night' creeps unashamedly into the best vocal hook on the album. The voice is isolated at first against a chorus swamped guitar line, rapid drum beats soon beginning to stir in the background. The intensity grows as the track develops, before everything but the rhythm section drops out for the centrepiece to really shine. It's gargantuan in its beauty. This sequence is plainly doubled up to go again a little bit harder the second time round, yet it is done with such class that it just so happens to work. I'd say it's the standout track, however it seems that there are more singular moments within the tracks which propel themselves forward for such an accolade, as opposed to a clear 5 minute winner - this can only be to the records benefit. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, comes 'Blue', a closer to rival all else this year.

I am a sucker for a ballad, and this is quite traditionally just that. Centred around a steadily ascending piano melody, Emmas sings gracefully with a wave like tone unseen elsewhere. It continues to float upward before diving into an angelic repetition of the title. Strange and eerie, yet utterly soul-stirring. As the LP draws to a close, all seems to have gotten a tad cleaner, sounds feeling a little softer around the edges. Built up dramatically, then slowly stripped away to the foundations. It's comparable to waking from a deep meditative state and opening your eyes to find everything painted in a yellow, Amelie-esque hue, and I'm not sure if there are many better ways to affect a listener than that. BIRD have always been promising, and it seems that in the past year their collective potential has began to bear fruit.

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