Home Is Where
I Became Birds


4.5
superb

Review

by notkanyewest USER (3 Reviews)
March 7th, 2021 | 38 replies


Release Date: 03/05/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: When I fly and look down/I'd swear that's not me

I’m going to be up front and say that I don’t feel qualified to place I Became Birds into the broad context of 5th wave emo (the “emo revival revival”?). At this point in my life, my consumption of this music is much more disjointed and circumstantial than, say, back in 2014, when it seemed like I was finding or being pointed in the direction of a new genre classic every week. So other than knowing they’re from Florida, I can’t place Home is Where in the context of their contemporaries or explain who exactly is pushing them to sound the way they do.

But I’ve always thought emo is at its best when it’s removed from a “scene”, anyways. I remember nearing the end of my freshman year of college, sitting alone on my bed in my dorm room, my friends all out pledging fraternities while I played NBA 2K14 and listened, over and over again, to the Pitchfork Advance stream of The Hotelier’s lifechanging Home, Like NoPlace Is There. I'm certain there was some genre meta-narrative at play with that band’s work at that time, but I definitely wasn’t attuned to it. My connection to the music was a fairly singular, highly personalized experience.

Although, I think, life circumstance and age prevents a record like I Became Birds from feeling quite so vital now as it might have been to me back then, listening to it, I find myself being filled with that same old feeling of personal discovery, of a windowshade being pulled up and the sun beginning to stream in. The record’s sounds are innovative, but in a seemingly effortless way. There are moments of tremendous catharsis and somber introspection, but nothing (although it’s probably difficult to have this problem on a 17 minute album) overstays its welcome. Genre tropes are usefully deployed but placed in new contexts, like when the band bookends the basement-ready gang vocals and screaming fits of “Sewn Together from the Membrane of the Great Sea Cucumber” with an undulating intro and outro that recalls Feels era Animal Collective. And sure, Dogleg might anchor a song with the same driving thrum as is found on “Assisted Harikari”, but they wouldn’t follow it up with the minimal, uneasy reflectiveness of the next song, closer “The Old Country”. And they’d certainly never dot their tracks with a harmonica.

I suspect, too, that when some kids out there hear Brandon Macdonald’s lyrics, perhaps years down the line, they will be moved in the same way they were when another generation of kids first heard Tim Kinsella’s work in Cap’n Jazz. Sure, Macdonald occasionally borrows too heavily from that school of absurdism (“alter boys curb stomp the mall Santa Claus/wearing high heels cuz the tv’s unplugged”), but their gift for turning the pedestrian into the arrestingly evocative is undeniable. Sweltering Florida summers are conveyed through “preservative sunshowers”, “digesting sunscreen”, and burning cops, and suburban mundanity manifests itself in “bong water transubstantiation” and the following request to a friend or a crush (another genre trope twisted into something wonderfully uncanny): “Hey, Samantha/let’s swallow all the lightbulbs in the living room”.

And there is no more or less to I Became Birds than that, at least to me, right now. I am right here—the bed I’m lying on slightly bigger—playing poker online instead of video games. I still feel lonely a lot, but in different ways. I look out the window and the same sun is shining.


user ratings (78)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
notkanyewest
March 7th 2021


81 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Tried to give props to something that might otherwise not get much shine on here, and not think about it too much

fatneckbeard
March 7th 2021


66 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

God I need more from these guys so fucking bad

brainmelter
March 7th 2021


7455 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

hell yea dude their debut is really solid, will listen to this today

nice read pos’d



Digging: Violent Dirge - Elapse

Sunnyvale
Contributing Reviewer
March 7th 2021


2202 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very good review, pos'd. Haven't heard of this but will have to get it a spin.

Scoot
March 7th 2021


20530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is tight

Digging: Yesduke - Yesduke

FoozerFan
March 8th 2021


19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

epic album, great review, pos'd

i wanna pet every puppy i see!

SteakByrnes
March 8th 2021


23252 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Knew this was emo just by looking at the cover lol, nice review

Digging: Hail the Sun - New Age Filth

Minushuman24
March 8th 2021


4672 Comments


This band is so fucking good

RadioSuicide
March 8th 2021


1812 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is sweet

brainmelter
March 8th 2021


7455 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Having heard this twice now, this pales in comparison to their first album imo

GreyShadow
March 9th 2021


4628 Comments


4.5, emo/post-hardcore? say no more, checking now

Digging: Hail the Sun - New Age Filth

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2021


3627 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh man, this is great. Thanks for reviewing. Like your writing a whole lot.

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2021


7112 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

amazing write up, please write more, this is lovely

EphemeralEternity
March 9th 2021


3853 Comments


home is where I cum on birds

jouroboros
March 9th 2021


97 Comments


Pretty interesting listen.. dude's voice gets a tad overbearing at times though

patrickbuit
March 9th 2021


48 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This EP is super good

Project
March 9th 2021


4749 Comments


pos, this is a great review and I'm really stoked to give this a listen

Digging: half/cut - Salt an Atlas

Cormano
March 9th 2021


2648 Comments


I see an emo-ish cover I instaclick

didn't even notice this is the band my friend has been recommending me for a while, guess its time to dive in

RadioNew03
March 9th 2021


48 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is so fucking good , I love the vibe this record has reminds me why I love this style of music in the first place

SlothcoreSam
March 10th 2021


3042 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great E.P.

Excited to see where they go from here.

This led me to another up and coming emo band who put out an album in Dec last year, it's worth checking.

Ogbert the Nerd- I Don't Hate I opt

Digging: Joystick - I Can't Take it Anymore



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