Photography by Jess Grant ©
Brighton trio Birdskulls have crafted a style of punk with a big twist of American fuzz. But is the up and coming release Trickle going to mistake noise for music?
You know when you go along to a gig and everybody is nodding their heads to the support band, or even the head-liners. Regardless, you aren't too familiar with the music but it seems like the crowd are enjoying it. You nod along but the inner-tiredness suddenly hits. Then you look up and down, along the line of fans, even at the guy hanging from the rail up front, "aye these boys are having a wee yawn too". It happens to us all, the band aren't particularly bad. In fact they might be decent. But you've heard it all somewhere before and if the songs are 'growers' then goodness me can they do with some help from a magical musical beanstalk somewhere. Birdskulls have recently released their new track Good Enough from the upcoming release Trickle.
'Trickle has some of the heaviest tunes we’ve ever written. We wanted to do everything harder, faster and louder than before because of the way Sam [the latest member of Birdskulls] plays. He’s from a hardcore punk background, way thrashier than Birdskulls. We wanted to write a heavy album, but we also wanted it to have a dynamic sound. There are a couple of songs on it that took us to each end of the spectrum! Cosmic stuff. But not like Muse'.
It's not like Muse, no. It's a decent effort in all fairness. And you can see the appeal. Fans will disagree with me here, and that's good, because Birdskulls are clearly talented, but I'm having the old gig problem as portrayed earlier. I'm looking down the line of Soundcloud releases and picturing the gig fan looking around a wee bit tired. Good Enough is a solid punk effort. The bass is strong and the guitar reeks of feedback and fuzz. In fact, the rhythm is catchy. The vocals have melody. I even like the "it's alrights". But for a band from Brighton, even growing up listening to the shoegazers of the past like MVB and Ride, it all sounds a little bit too much like Bowling For Soup for me. I'm rather harshly using the most abrasive and disappointing of band names of a generation there, but the point remains. These young punkers from Brighton have released a generic american teen movie track. Sadly, the same goes for Sand Smiles, and to a lesser extent the grungy Nirvana-esque Mind The Demon. However there is hope, and clearly a lot of talent, and Art is Hard Records has backed that with the split 7" release with Bloody Knees called Alley Gorey.
It's a decent track which portrays that Birdskulls have a future in the punk scene. But to really stand out, a new twist, perhaps something British, perhaps even something Brighton, but just anything original must come to the table. And it can be done, just look at other bands with punk sensibilities coming through. Paws, for example.
'We really like Paws. One of the first shows we played was with those guys at The Blind Tiger in Brighton. We must have listened to Cokefloat! about a hundred times now. We are in this band so we can go to new places and try out new things so it really feels like we are doing that'.
The reason why Paws are successful is because they are doing their own thing. The american scene hasn't really crept into their music, and though their influences can be heard, they haven't been replicated. Even american punk bands such as Pope have moved on from that. The other reason is that they are going to new places with their music, pushing the genre, and that makes a band truly memorable. If that is achieved, music doesn't need to be a 'grower', it can be enjoyed by all.