Artist: tUnE-yArDs Release: BiRd-BrAiNs Out: 16th November On: 4AD Buy: Rough Trade More Info: Myspace It's annoying isn't it? The spelling thing? Yeah, I thought so too! Given that, I was all set to really dislike this record. Was actually looking forward to slating it to bits if truth be told. Even more annoyingly is that in BiRd-BrAiNs, tUnE-yArDs have a really quite enjoyable record. Lo-fi is a term that's often banded about to try and pigeonhole a lot of acts that are trying far too hard to be 'real' and 'gritty'. Bands who spend weeks and months in expensive studios perfecting their under-produced sound. And then every so often a record comes along that is truly lo-fi. This is that album. There was clearly no expense spared for production on BiRd-BrAiNs. It was self recorded on a laptop with a voice recorder over two and a half years and was originally made available for sale radiohead-esque in a pay as you want method before getting snapped up by 4AD (well, in truth, it was Marriage in the 'States but not to worry). There's just no getting away from it. This album is scratchy as hell, it hisses and spits and at times sounds so tinny that when listening to it for the first time, I honestly thought the battery in my noise reduction Bose headphones was running flat. Despite this, there was something interesting about it that kept me listening. Contrary to its lo-fi nature, this is not really a straightforward record. There's all sorts of stuff going on here. There's a bit of folk ('Sunlight'), there's some R&B (in a loose sense at least in 'Lions'), there's some African beats and chanting ('Hatari'), some chatter with children about "fresh blueberries" ('For You') and there're even a hint of a reggae beat or two at times - really something for a white girl from New England. Listen to 'Sunlight' here: Whatever Merill Garbus turns her hand to though has one thing in common, a catchy ukulele hook. Her ability to turn a tune is displayed best on one of the album's standout tracks 'News'. Here this she has created an infectious chorus with just the right amount of weirdness going on coupled with a vocal that makes her sound not unlike Eleanor Friedberger of Fiery Furnaces. It'll have you singing along before long and will have you telling anyone around you that "I don't need any booze, to get it up in the morning". Given this, possibly best to listen to this in the privacy of your own home! Then there is 'Fiya' which builds perfectly to almost anthemic levels (or as anthemic as you can get with a voice recorder and ukulele at least). The vocals being soothing and tender to start and build and turn into a self-loathing wail that could go so horribly wrong (Alanis Morissette I'm thinking of your self-loathing wail here) but Garbus' carries it off with aplomb. Although there are a couple of passengers on the album - 'Jamaican' and 'Safety' don't really hit the mark - this is a decent effort that is well worth investigation. There are clearly obstacles to enjoying this record, any fans of grammar may take issue with the name and the flagrant off-kilter CaPiTaLiSaTiOn and turn away on sight. For any sonic purists out there, I'll warn you now, this is probably probably not for you. However if you don't fall into either of these camps then BiRd-BrAiNs is worth investigating. 7/10 Tracks to download: 'News' and 'Fiya' Tracks to skip: 'Jamaican' and 'Safety' Twitter Review: Like your lo-fi so lo-fi it's subterranean? Like all sorts of shit to boot? Get past the CaPiTaLiSaTiOn & give tUnE-yArDs BiRd-BrAiNs a spin What say you on this? Sound off in our Forum!