EP Review- Birds Of Tokyo- This Fire

Australia’s favourite son, Ian Kenny, has once again teamed up with his Perth band Birds Of Tokyo after a brief absence while recording their latest EP.

After two years since their self titled third album was released, public hopes were high for yet another award winning album. But in an interesting move by the band, they chose to release a four track EP prior to their full album which will be released in March 2013.

This Fire sees the band soften their sound yet again. Progression is inevitable, and there will no doubt be criticism over this change. But this progression is for the better, in this reviewer’s opinion anyway. There’s a very ethereal nature to the music, with a very synth-orientated sound. There is no guitar shredding, nor is there a thumping bass, or screeching vocals like on Day One, Birds of Tokyo, and the critically acclaimed Universes, that snatched number 32 in Triple J’s Hottest 100 Australian Albums of All Time.

But what the title track This Fire does have, is emotion. It may be something that not enough music has these days. Emotion and passion. Ian Kenny chooses not to use his famous falsetto, instead taking the opportunity to sing with what appears to be pain. The instrumentation is pretty basic, but it’s not what you’re focusing on, and it’s not disappointing at all. The chanting of the chorus is spine tingling. Particularly the last time around, when the music softens, then breaks into an electronic part; synth-solo, if you will.

Glowing In The Streets, the second track, is much of an indie anthem. It’s once again slow, but not so heavy on the synth. The guitars are easy to listen to, and not overly exciting, just like the majority of music going around. The difference is, not all bands have Ian Kenny! In the outro, the guitar features a heap of fuzz, which is very interesting for BoT. Once again though, it works for them!

When you are expecting things to pick up, the band slow it down even further, for the third track, Boy.  A very basic beat is kept by drummer Adam, who appears to only be using one of the tom-toms. Two keyboards are used: one for an eerie but delicate droning, with another playing a simple melody. It’s quite strange.

The closing track on the bands sixth official release (One way/Stay EP, Day One, Universes, Broken Strings, S/T) features a clean but hearty guitar and an anthemic drum beat. The track’s called The Lake and keeps with the mood of the rest of the album; slow and slightly boring. Organ sounding keys set the background, while a clean piano plays the chords over the top. Ian joins in to sing the very slow and emotive verse, with the beating of the drums gives an even more intense feel. The build up seems never ending, as the guitar and bass join in, and the drums grow. The speed doesn’t change, until the outro, where it slows to a halt, concluding the ‘This Fire’ EP by Birds of Tokyo.

It sure has its highlights, but they were definitely not expected to be like this. Now to wait until the album in March 2013! It will be interesting as to whether this is a continuing theme, or whether this EP is a collection of songs that do not fit on any of their other albums. It’s still worth the money, and a hell of a lot better than most things going around right now. Ian Kenny, you are a god!

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