Much like fellow English act Sleep Token, the buzz surrounding Liverpudlian trio Exploring Birdsong has been protracted and fed by the odd single release to whet the appetite of those who like their Prog quirky and melodic. Finally, the wait is over with new EP The Thing With Feathers (Long Branch Records), inspired by iconic poets Emily Dickinson and Seamus Heaney and the first elongated effort from the band.
Aside from being largely piano-led, the selling point of the sound is the winsome voice of Lynsey Ward, shattering the senses as ‘The River’ breaks from sampled-infused intro ‘Hope’. Mighty in its musicality and possessing little of the fragility expected with her style, Ward’s vocal is supported by resounding, multi-layered keyboards and Matt Harrison‘s steady, effective percussion to create a gorgeous song reminiscent of both All About Eve and the subtle intricacies of London Grammar. Jonny Knight‘s flexing bass patterns complement the remarkably heavy, rhythmic yet poignant keyboard progressions, with Ward’s plaintive assertions seeming to add to that beat whilst dancing with the larks in the equally emotive ‘The Sinking Question’.
The choral interlude of the haunting title track, the aural embodiment of one of Dickinson’s glut of incredible odes, is followed by ‘The Baptism’: a wonderfully staggered affair with inventive rhythms that again suit Ward’s delicacies, her voice soaring and flitting through the bruising raindrops of a track that those aware of the band will be familiar with. Similarly, closer ‘The Downpour’ has been around for some time but it’s beautiful, ‘classical ice’ feel is as fresh as the day it first dropped: the Fender Rhodes shower waltzing with Ward’s flexible larynx and, as with the track’s predecessor, some delicious harmonies.
Sometimes something comes along that will appeal to many, regardless of their preferred genre. Here we find a band pushing boundaries, leaning heavily toward melody yet possessing enough power and reverberation to appeal to those with a harder nose: effusing euphoria through the angst; an involuntary expression of ecstasy from the paralysis of tragedy. The Thing With Feathers delivers on the promise shown by Exploring Birdsong’s early tasters, and how.
8 / 10