“Birds” – Poor Moon
Last week I featured a song from the band Time Travelers, and noted its resemblance to music made by Fleet Foxes. This week, at the risk of redundancy, I offer up a song from the band Poor Moon and will likewise note its resemblance to music made by Fleet Foxes, with this additional footnote: Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott, two of the four gentlemen in Poor Moon, are themselves also in Fleet Foxes. So that explains that.
This is not Fleet Foxes 2.0, however. “Birds” is a dreamy song with with an intriguing sonic palette, elusive roots, lovely melodies, and an uncanny arrangement. There is something vaguely Mexican, or at least faux-Mexican, in the air here, both in the rhythm and the instrumentation, but that is merely an entry point into this music, not the end point. Sounds are used with great care, in particular those emanating from the marimba and the rest of the sensitive, idiosyncratic percussion section (tiny example: the random, exquisitely timed marimba note struck at 2:29). Chord progressions are lovingly crafted—don’t miss the heavenly, Brian Wilson-y end of the introduction (0:27-0:32), and the chorus’s lovely series of shifts (1:35-2:01, but check out 1:49 in particular). The group harmonies surely bring FF to mind, but Wargo’s lead vocal has a casual, dusky quality that blends beautifully with the warm, clackety arrangement. This is a winner that keeps on growing with repeated listens.
Wargo and Wescott have long been friends and musical associates; prior to Fleet Foxes, they played together in the bands Pedro the Lion and Crystal Skulls. The other two members are brothers Ian and Peter Murray, who otherwise play in a band called The Christmas Cards. “Birds” is the tenth of ten tracks on the band’s debut full-length release, self-titled, which will be out next week on Sub Pop Records. MP3 via Sub Pop. Thanks to Largehearted Boy for the head’s up.