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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Black Bluebirds - Like Blood for Music (2017)

Written by Larry Robertson, posted by blog admin

Black Bluebird’s announces their potential in a big way with their release Like Blood for Music, a powerful ten song collection. The power trio comes from a traditional hub for inventive music, Minneapolis, and is joined by a couple of talented contributors to help this release come off as one of the more impressive in recent memory – either on the mainstream or indie scene. Offering themselves up as a sort of genre hybrid, melding elements of pop with darker overtones, including dissonant edges shaping their music, Black Bluebirds provides listeners with a selection of tunes defying description while still striking familiar chords. It’s invigorating work reassuring those with flagging faith in modern music that there are artists and bands still moving and pushing the boundaries of what the art form can provide us in the modern world. It’s needed more desperately than ever before.

The quasi-metal stomp of “Love Kills Slowly” opens the album with a hammer blow and it’s further enhanced by snatches of coherent, melodic lead guitar. Lead vocalist and lyricist Daniel Fiskum has an unusual voice, not a typical hard rock belter by far, but second vocalist Jessica Rasche functions as a more than effective counterpoint for his idiosyncratic approach. The fatalistic tone of the song is well in keeping with the album’s intense, very adult themes. The second track “Strange Attractor” opens with a keyboard blast courtesy of Fiskum before moving into a more dynamically diverse offering than we heard with the opener. Rasche doesn’t have the same presence in this song as she did with the opener, but makes her talent felt on the track nonetheless. Guitarist Simon Husbands offers the same gripping guitar work we heard with the opener, but it never risks cliché. 
An acoustic flourish opens “Life in White” and they couple it with a dash of the epic well in keeping with their devotion to cinematic overtones. The lyrical side of the song features some incisive writing from Fiskum without ever risking any of the aforementioned clichés so often dooming lesser talents. Drummer Chad Helmonds is a standout on the track “House of No More Dreams” and teams with Husbands to make a powerful musical statement between the two men.

There’s a musically lighter touch on the track “Hole in the Day”, near balladic, and the different vocal feel is an exciting change from the earlier tunes without ever sounding out of place. Like Blood for Music’s second to last tune “My Eyes Were Closed” opens with its chorus and has a near orchestral vibe imbuing it with a big screen feel never betraying their clearly muscular bearing. The finale “Legendary” mixes keyboards and the band’s traditional rock leanings in a charged closer with Fiskum’s voice leading the way in a heartfelt way. There is no question blood carries a lot of this band’s music because there’s commitment behind every tune. Anyone who loves committed music will respond to this album.  

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