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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Josh Birdsong - Where the Light Bends (2017)

Written by Scott Wigley, posted by blog admin

Josh Birdsong has a rich musical background in his very short but very illustrious career.  The Nashville, TN transplant (originally hailing from Detroit, Michigan) already has one popular, well-crafted EP, Simple Geometry under his belt; he was a winner of the 2015 International Songwriting Competition and he has also had his music played on over 100 different radio stations across the US.  His career is quickly on the rise and his second EP release, Where the Light Bends shows refinement in pretty much every way imaginable. 

Produced by Stephen Leiweke who had success producing Christian rock giants Jars of Clay, Where the Light Bends is immaculately mixed and conceived.  All of the solid mixing in the world couldn’t save a subpar record with subpar songs though and opener “Complex Context,” is clearly cut from a superior sonic cloth.  Clean guitars loaded up on pedal board FX combine and split apart multiple melodies, leaving Josh’s vibrant lead vocals and vivid lyrics up front and center.  Echoes of psychedelic rock, space rock, kraut groove and 80s new wave are further enforced by soulful keyboards and meaningful instrumental explorations.  The mixture of symphonic grandeur, well-chiseled sonic deviance and propulsive (though sparse) rhythms give this material plenty of legs.  “The Sound Beneath the Static” follows suit, borrowing some of its predecessors drifting, cloudy psychedelic vibes while infusing a slow 80s throb to the electronic beats. 

“Cloud 8” kicks off as a swirling, skyward bound guitar/synth jam that slowly picks up in tempo as it goes along.  Birdsong harmonizes with himself for the intoxicating effect of a chorale with super smooth guitars eventually letting loose with some hard-hitting drama in terms of crunching bass lines and ever-loudening guitar work.  Keep an eye out on this song because it certainly has a chance of becoming really big.  The low to the ground rocker “Too Much to Hold” dabbles in classic rock thanks to some gravelly yet melody driven country/blues guitar before pulling back and blowing the song wide open with Birdsong’s dedicated ear for harmonic counterpoints.  A mesmerizing trio of tunes is complete with the unique integration of Neil Young, Yes and The Smiths into a singular, awesome entity on “Arctic Desert”.  The title track rounds things off and ends Where the Light Bends on a very positive, uplifting note.     

This EP has the potential to break Josh Birdsong into the big time.  He’s already carved himself a superlative reputation thanks to Simple Geometry’s fantastic introduction to his world and numerous accolades.  Where the Light Bends only cements the fact that Birdsong is a visionary with a catalog of original songs that don’t sound quite like anybody else out there. 

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