A Fine Frenzy
Bomb In A Birdcage


4.0
excellent

Review

by Steven McMahan USER (49 Reviews)
January 1st, 2010 | 7 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ms. Sudol takes some Prozac and produces an album so slightly weaker than her stellar debut it hardly matters.

My first impression(s) of Bomb in a Birdcage basically went like this: “Okay, where is that slightly depressed girl singing about heartbreak and inadvertently having us dream of dating her and helping make her feel better? This girl is happy. She’s also fallen victim to the sophomore slump.”

But I digress. One Cell in the Sea wasn’t really a “depressing” album, and it wasn’t necessarily subdued or slow either -“Lifesize” and (to a lesser extent) “Rangers” are testaments to that. While excellent, One Cell… definitely wasn’t perfect. Things felt a little all over the place, and at 61 minutes, it was at least a bit long for a pop album. It’s safe to say that Bomb in a Birdcage fixes both problems.

Allison Sudol (the woman behind the AFF moniker) said, “I think some people may be surprised [by the album]. I’m a quiet person with a loud streak, and this record is a testament to that.” “What I Wouldn’t Do” immediately begins to prove she’s at least partly right. Bomb in a Birdcage is decidedly more upbeat than One Cell in the Sea, it stays under 45 minutes long, and although it’s still a collection of songs, …Birdcage feels more like an album than her debut did.

Of course, this would mean little if the songs weren’t good, but the 11 tracks here are lacking little in that department. Bomb in a Birdcage is one of ‘09’s best pop albums, a catchy, well crafted effort with touches of indie – it shares a lot more with Feist than Lady Gaga. Aforementioned opener “What I Wouldn’t Do” starts off things on a high note, “Electric Twist” wouldn’t sound all that out of place on Regina Spektor’s last two albums (with a decent dose of quirkiness, of course), and the rest of the first five tracks form one of the best stretches on any album from this year. Even when things wind down for ballads, Sudol’s voice and the music keep things interesting. And speaking of her voice, it displays wonderful range, rarely (if ever) sounds weak, and exudes not only charm but an almost youth-like innocence as well.

The only question that comes from Bomb in a Birdcage (besides why they made her look slightly ugly for the cover) is where she should go from here. She’s conquered the sophomore slump and proven an ability to evolve, albeit certainly not drastically. As long as the output stays consistent, AFF is likely to build up quite an impressive catalog and similar fanbase. In the meantime, we have two stellar pop albums, and the bonus that Sudol is easy on the eyes.



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user ratings (52)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
mvdu (5)
A Fine Frenzy avoids the sophomore slump and then some!...

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One Cell in the Sea

Comments:Add a Comment 
ninjuice
January 1st 2010


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ugh you gotta be kidding me. I don't know what happened here.
Anyways I did this cause it needed another review and she's fairly underrated.

Douglas
January 1st 2010


9124 Comments



Good review, pos'd.

foreverendeared
January 2nd 2010


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, i agree 100%. I'm glad you've changed your view of the album from the first paragraph

Willie
Moderator
January 5th 2010


16054 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I admit that a lot of my issues with this album are because it's more upbeat. Good review.

ninjuice
January 5th 2010


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Haha thanks for noticing it.

Willie
Moderator
January 5th 2010


16054 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

No problem. I've been gone the last few weeks so I'm going through all the old reviews now.

mvdu
January 10th 2010


608 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Glad to hear the CD grew on you! While you can tell by my ratings that these are instant classics to me personally, I know every review won't be that bullish. Good review -pos'd. As to where she goes next, I have a feeling it will be closer to One Cell with maybe some power pop providing diversity. What do you think?

Yes, I have a huge crush on Alison, but that's a bonus.



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