Biirdie - Catherine Avenue
Record Label: Love Minus Zero / Drive-Thru Records
Release Date: January 22, 2008
Catherine Avenue is a collection of melancholic summer anthems and soul drenched alt-Americana tunes from California based Biirdie. The group consists of Jared Flamm, Kala Savage and Richard Gowen, who have composed an album of sweeping melodic stories, orchestrated through traditional country and blues instrumentation.
Opening with the title track, your ears are almost instantly caught by the double-tracked vocals, which pull you closer to the words escaping from Flamm's lips. Savage's harmonies are extremely welcome and add new depth and texture. Second track, "LA is Mars," is just as good, if not better: another portion of melancholy, Southern-tinged pop which checks all the right boxes.
Yes, Biirdie have mastered the downbeat sound perfectly, but they are equally capable of writing upbeat music also, as heard through "Estelle," "Who Were You Thinking Of?" and "Him." Vocally, comparisons can be drawn to Bright Eyes and The Good Life - particularly in "Him" and "LA is Mars" - due mostly to the double-tracking and harmonic structures used.
While Catherine Avenue is not particularly complex, it is consistently interesting and genuine, and this charm shines through in every song. The production is faultless; each song paints a warm, vivid picture that's perfectly clarified by the crisp, attentive engineering. The use of vocal double-tracking is a nice touch and no instruments ever become lost in the mix.
There is little pretension with Biirdie. They are a band who write music from the soul. Okay, so Catherine Avenue may not be the most original or most adventurous collection of songs, but it is without doubt a consistent and extremely enjoyable one.
If you like your music served Southern with a helping of delicious harmonies, then Biirdie will certainly satisfy your musical hunger. If Catherine Avenue is anything to go by, Biirdie have a very bright future in front of them.