A black envelope sits in my hands. It’s thick. I see hand-scripted scrawls all over it in metallic silver gel ink. To Brent Smith. From Brighton, United Kingdom.
I open it to have a thousand white feathers fall into my lap. Out pops a disc and some crafts-fair literature from the almost indescribable Birdeatsbaby. Almost. I’ll give it a go, though, otherwise I’m of no use.
In their China Doll EP, Birdeatsbaby throw it all out, leaving conventions in their wake as they thrust through the room with the avant air of interwar burlesque performers, dark lyricism hand-in-hand with whimsical runs of the piano.
The titular first track makes it quite clear that the ladies (and one gent) of the group don’t intend to be treated as fragile. The lyrics evoke a post-modern feminist strength contrasted with Baroque instrumentals that makes you want to cheer them on (for fear of being ripped to shreds by their piano, violin and/or claws).
The second track “I Always Hang Myself With The Same Rope” is self-effacing, emotive, and in a way, draws power from admitting weakness.
The final track “Shiver Up The Spine” does exactly that, with the opening seconds creating a false lull of safety before being bombarded by a diva-esque ballad of cabaret proportions. This is the kind of song you expect to hear at the end of a classic film, right before the police bust into the underground club to take away our heroine for charges of conspiracy and anarchic subversion.
“I don’t give a damn, a man is just a man”, she sings as they drag her away and throw her in the wagon to be taken to the station.
I finish my drink, put on the fedora and walk out into the brusque cold night air, knowing I’ve experienced something that the married boys back at the office only dream about.
China Doll is the appetizer and on June 1, Birdeatsbaby will be releasing the main course, their first full-length studio album, “Here She Comes a Tumblin’”. For a taste of the sardonic wunderkinds, check out the awesome music video for “The Trouble”.