Them Bird Things: Pachyderm Nightmares
Every album Them Bird Things have released – this, ‘Pachyderm Nightmares’, their third – has been through the same process of me first going “hmm, that’s interesting, yet something rubs me the wrong way,” and then, after two-three listens, “hmm, this is really interesting, and I’m thoroughly exited.” Now you’re probably on the edge of your seat and eagerly awaiting the answer to your only question: Why? I’ll tell you why: 1) Because Will Shade’s production is always rich on curious choices, that you at least thrice have to ask yourself if that really was the right one (which they always are, as it turns out), and 2) Salla Day’s voice.
When I shared my thoughts on their debut, ‘Fly, Them Bird Things, Fly!’ back in 2009 I called it “expressive, androgynous and definitely an acquired taste” and eventually concluded that I like it. A lot. Yet, still it continues to take me by surprise and it’s like I have to start liking it all over with every new album. Fortunately it’s not hard, as her delivery of the quite gloomy lyrics is truly remarkable – perhaps a bit more so here and now than earlier, as the collaboration with the two songwriters Mike Brassard and Steve Blodgett has ended and Day now stands on her own lyrical feet, making it even more personal.
Where the debut was rooted in Blodgett and Brassard’s early hey-days with Mike & The Ravens in the 60s, the followup, ‘Wildlike Wonder’, pleased with dusty americana. ‘Pachyderm Nightmares’ stands on the shoulders of both, reaching back and pointing forwards, taking something very American and molding it to something very Scandinavian in all its icy melancholy. It’s another whole piece of work (country suddenly going Celtic folk track ‘Cumberland Head Ferry Blues’ the slightly odd one out) and 46 marvelous minutes of what really only makes sense describing as: Them Bird Things.
Pachyderm Nightmare – Roundelay – Bird’s Beak Lock – I Know Who Killed Robert Johnson – Hang Your Heart On High