By far the most cohesive and fully-realized album released under the Bird Show name, this newest self-titled release comes closest to capturing the trance-inducing styles hinted at on past albums. Of course, the main man behind Bird Show is one Ben Vida, and here he's joined by like-minded musicians such as Robert Lowe, Greg Davis, and his brother Adam. The resulting ten track album flows like one smooth jam between minds that have been melded, and while the dynamics certainly don't shock as much, the sonics themselves are at times completely hypnotic.
Although past releases from Vida have certainly had sharper contrasts in sound, the almost entirely smooth ride of this new release pays dividends. "Two Organs and Dumbek" kicks things off, and it sounds remarkably like an older Terry Riley piece, with the obvious central organ melodies spiraling off one another as a repetitive bassline walks up and down and the dumbek provides some crisp percussion. Every once in awhile, some wordless vocals enter the mix like some sort of incantation, and the piece peaks about two-thirds of the way through with a quickening pace and more layers of percussion that drive up the heartbeat just enough.
There's a lot of 70s era influence on the recording, and in several places it conjures up the same forest-floor feel that Popol Vuh and other mellow krautrock bands pulled off so well. "Clouds And Their Shadows" dives underneath the shadows of a deep canopy as watery field recordings mix with bells, deep drums, monotone vocals and loads of other spectral instrumentation. In other places it gets downright tribal, with the rhythm-heavy pieces "Brddrms" and "Percussion And Voice" locking into repeated, but heady patterns.
Towards the end of the release, it starts to feel more like an ethnographic exploration rather than a set of great songs, but when the group is hitting on all cylinders (as they do on the organ and guitar laced "Green Vines," they tap into a misty forest vibe that I haven't heard anyone pull off quite as well lately. A nice step forward from Vida and the gang, Bird Show is a truly lush headphone experience.