Review Summary: Another worthwhile trip to folk inspired introspection from Mimicking Birds
Mimicking Birds, a Portland based indie/folk rock band first caught my eye due to being on Isaac Brock's (Modest Mouse ) record label, Glacial Pace. Songwriter and founder of the group, Nate Lacey, has always had an incredible ability to weave intricate, introspective patterns with the acoustic guitar. Their album, Layers of Us, retains the introspective folk of the previous two albums while also introducing some glossy new layers via synthesizers and production techniques.
Layers of Us continues in the same vein as 2014's Eons; it features the same reflective, thought provoking lyrics and beautiful acoustic arpeggios and riffs. On top of that, there is a willingness to experiment and incorporate new sounds and layers. The lead single, "Sunlight Daze", is an excellent example of this. Featuring swirling synthesizers backed by electric guitar; it sounds completely new, yet it is still unmistakably Mimicking Birds.
Listening to the album for the first time is quite a beautiful experience, and it's good to know the band can still pull off songs like "Lumens". There is a certain amount of cynical introspection that seems to be pervasive throughout their work; it is a unique strength. "Great Wave" is a highlight with its epic climax in the second half. "One Eyed Jack", a long and brooding number, showcases the beautiful moodiness their music possesses. Every song is solid, however, not every track is outstanding. A couple of the songs, "A Part" and "Belongings", almost sound too similar to each other.
Once the new, electronic shine wears off, it feels either on par with or even slightly lesser than Eons. It is hard to argue that the songwriting has gotten any stronger, and part of this is due to Nate Lacy having always been incredible at the craft. That is not to say the songwriting isn't up to par, it certainly is. However, the band will have to continue to find new ways to grow creatively as they are showing hints of stagnation. No matter what route they go, it will certainly be a worthwhile listen.