Birdpen
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Birdpen

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Band Alternative Rock

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BirdPen ‘Breaking Precedent’ (Les Oreilles Bleues). It seems such an age since BirdPen’s debut release ‘Discussing Robots’ dropped through our mail box heralding the onset of a voyage within the creative sonic mindsets of Mike Bird and Dave Pen. Since then the releases have been thin on the ground yet without question eagerly lapped up here at the losing today rickety record shed. Combining drama, tension and a bracing clinical stature in melodic craftsmanship that sadly seems in drought mode these days perhaps only Genaro, Working for a Nuclear Free City and Swimmer One manage to trip the same failsafe to swim in similar currents. Now bolstered by the arrival to the line up of James Livingston Seagull, the ’breaking precedent’ EP is a five track taster for what should be - here at least - one of the most anticipated debut full lengths of the year. Due in October ’On/Off/Safety/Danger’ promises to showcase the trio’s ability to craft out quietly consuming slow burning epics like no one else. For now though the aforementioned ’Breaking Precedent’ EP - opening with the title cut this beautifully hollowing cutie cruises amid shimmering swirls and simmering intones that are deftly pepper corned by chugging riffs crisply interspersed by sveltely tender needling chord pines, very much honing in on ’in vivo’ era Wire territories it soon gear changes and shifts perspective at 1.56 to blossom beautifully into radiating sheens of slyly coiling effervescence underpinned by the back drop of overlapping harmonies and subtle showers of kraut rhythms which if your anything like me will have you swooning in untold admiration (the CD incidentally featured both the radio edit and full album versions of the song). There’s an almost chilled menace to the bleakly oppressive ’Machines Live Like Ordinary People’ with its automated grind belching ominously to a mechanical mantra as it flat lines emotionlessly nodding all at once to the doom cast future glimpses of the silver screen a la Laing’s ’Metropolis’, Chaplin’s ’Modern Times’ and ’terminator’. ’Man the Thinker’ it seems has become something of a fan favourite in certain quarters and sees the trio in unusually tender and introspective moments, a cantering piano takes the lead, the melodies though still wrapped with an icy hue soon begins to thaw as momentum gathers the la la la harmonies endowing it with a pulsating seductive aura that’s strangely funky almost recalling a very youthful ‘Philadelphia’ soul era Hall and Oates. As with all previous BirdPen releases there’s always one hidden gem lurking amid the grooves quietly awaiting its moment in the spotlight, ’Implode And Fold’ is on this occasion that cut. Emerging from the tension and brooding of the sets overall texture and vibe, as though like the clouds parting on a still grey day ‘implode and fold’ comes into focus. Soft, gentle and hitherto unassuming this babe best viewed in the still of night is an airily stress melting and caressing slice of reflective introspection braided by tenderly woven orbiting melodies and the delicate lilt of warming harmonies flashed through with subtle shades of west coast pastels. Need we say more - buy the bugger.
- Mark - Losing Today


Discography

"On/Off/Safety/Danger" Debut Album released in January 2009
"Breaking Precedent" EP, released digitaly in august 2008

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Bio

Who are BirdPen? ? aka What happens when I press this button?

Not everyone enjoys driving headfirst at speed into a brick wall to test out the airbag of a stolen vehicle. That is because there is a voice somewhere inside, a survival instinct is what some call it, and its main interest is protecting us from danger and delivering us from evil.

The survival instinct warns us not to do things and go places we shouldn’t, it wants us to live and remain unblemished, but despite all its fine arguments very occasionally that side of our character loses out and we do something that puts our situation in jeopardy. When this happens, when the survival instinct has been overridden by some jackass notion that it’ll be okay to drive into the wall at high speed and that might even be FUN, the survival instinct has to watch ..less with the rest of its selves to see what will manifest as forces beyond its control determine whether on this occasion it will have future opportunity to worry, or not.

To my mind, BirdPen on their debut album On/Off/Safety/Danger (released October 2008) represent the sound of the survival instinct right before the whole shit comes crashing down and everything changes irreparably forever. Soothing, raging, always caring On/Off/Safety/Danger is acting out beyond the states of insecurity, paranoia and fear. They are dealing with dark forces and step up close to the void and look directly into the great abyss for all of humankind, and for the sheer hell of it.

“BirdPen write songs that even on first hearing you feel you know. They've got a great rapport with a live audience, and they know how to work a crowd; a breath of fresh air." BBC 6 Music

The BirdPen world is one where animals are hunted, butchered or got rid of because they are a nuisance or interfere with human progress – whatever human progress is? Computers, monsters, machines and mayhem. We are shitting in our own bed and we’re not really enjoying the smell. BirdPen understand this and they understand that we now share a planet with strangers who will happily fly planes into buildings full of people without a seconds thought for their own life or anyone else’s. BirdPen see a swirling world spinning on money, lies, corruption, hypocrisy and greed, where contradictions and ironies abound. Theirs is a planet where all creations and beauty is overshadowed by everything that is savagely destroyed and killed, and for what? BirdPen exist on the perimeters of a destructive world they do not feel a part of. They are on the outside reporting back to us exactly what they see.

And what else would you expect from three young intelligent musicians schooled in Bill Hicks and the music and movies of John Carpenter?

You see, BirdPen is not just the sound of the survival instinct, it is also the sound
of curiosity and naughty delight, that intoxicating wait between the moment when the car impacts against the wall and the airbag explodes out saving your face from being splattered against the steering wheel and being turned into hamburger. Do not let the deep and heavy chatter fool you, BirdPen are not uptight, or on a mission to save the planet. With On/Off/Safety/Danger they simply want to make good music and point out a few of the things that amuse and confuse, and they are much too busy counting birds sitting on antennae’s and wondering how the hell you tell when you’ve stepped off the edge to be superheroes.

"If you like your music sinister but gorgeous then BirdPen cant be recommended enough" Drowned in Sound

BirdPen are Mike Bird, Dave Pen and James Livingston Seagull. They formed in 2004 and refuse to say where they actually come from, because what is the point and what difference, no really, does it make to whether you like their music or not? They refer to home as The Village. Do they mean the ‘global village’, Village of the Damned or something else? Who knows, they won’t reveal.

The band released three EP’s, 1 in 54, Be Yourself and Fake Kid between 2004 and 2006, and in that time they’ve been wearing the black BirdPen uniform and thrilling crowds across the UK and Europe with their 21st century Doom Groove show. In 2007 Mike and Dave were asked to contribute songs to the Archive album Lights, and Dave hooked up with the Archive collective to tour it, a moment captured on Live at the Zenith, which Rolling Stone Europe describes as the best live album ever.

Dave is still a valued member of the Archive collective and is writing new material for an album scheduled to come out next year. However, BirdPen is where the heart is at and the main focus for his energies. Soon Mike, Dave and James will be touring On/Off/Safety/Danger and recording its follow up. Both Mike and Dave have written over a hundred new songs to choose from.

I’m still not sure who BirdPen are. Are they the driver, the car or the airbag? Perhaps they are all three? Maybe not. Maybe they are just watching as someone else drives into