Subconsciously knowing that this was next on my review pile I had a really strange dream last night involving birds trying to eat babies. I guess looking at the band name one assumes that it is a human baby being eaten but as far as I am aware there are no reported cases of this ever happening, maybe it has done in the realms of a Jan Svankmajer film and I am sure that a vulture somewhere has picked the bones of a dead baby but let’s not get too damn macabre here. Anyway the name fits this band well as like the mysteries it suggests the group is not at all easy to pigeonhole (and that was an unintentional pun and they stop right here).
Even though musically this Brighton based act are often on the gentle and delicate side each song has a story centred around vocalist Mishkin Fitzgerald’s enticing tones and there is plenty of drama at their heart as they are delivered like dark passion plays. Added textures are soothing piano and some strings in the form of violins and each of the numbers have their own identity about them as they genre hop between styles and entrance the listener with their enticing tales.
The title track has a very prog laden start, invoking The Cardiacs to me straight away and then moving into a cabaret etched dark performance taking you through life’s trials and tribulations narratively. It’s incredibly catchy and really draws you in already moving through many different styles from the performance orientated drive of bands such as The Tiger Lillies to the poppy sarcasm of Chumbawamba. As for how deep the bullet lies, just check out the excellent cover art! It is accessible as far as the music is concerned but incredibly dark stuff lyrically. This is very much the case as the soulful second track ‘Drinking In The Day’ delivers its message which is a far from sober one but a very true to life one for many. The vocals on this one are particularly beautiful and this just hammers the subject matter in all the harder. ‘Enemies Like Me’ has a drum intro evoking Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful People before twisting and turning into a jaunty little art-rocking groover with even a neo-classical touch before it skilfully ebbs out. ‘Ghosts’ is one of those numbers that lets the delicate piano draw you in and send a shiver down the spine. The melody is familiar and although not the sort of bands I listen to at first I thought it could even be a cover of a Radiohead or Muse number. With the spine chilling rapture of the combined lilting symphonic parts and the lush rising vocals it really lives up to its name and completely haunts me. This is one of the most gorgeous songs I have heard in many a moon. Don’t just take my word for it; the song is on the music page of their main site linked below.
Singing like a bit of a Cockney street urchin and with Rasputina’s Melora Creager providing a touch of cello, ‘Into The Black’ may only last just over a minute but its theatrical touch again lasts far longer. Most of the songs here last a near perfect 3-4 minutes and the album as a whole is just the right length and has brought me back for many repeated plays which will definitely continue after the review is written. The tempestuous ‘Tenterhooks’ swirls around the strings and delivers the lyrics like a catfight which seems to perfectly go with the songs narrative. ‘Spiders’ spreads its web and features another “eccentric” artist Gabby Young of And Other Animals, who I also need to check out now as this one has also completely ensnared me with another soulful vocal delivery.
It’s difficult not mentioning every song on this album as they are all damn good, hell there is so much going on stylistically we even touch on a bit of a gospel before we get to the end. Maybe this all sounds a bit left-field for many readers and a bit out the normal but if you are here we hope you are not entirely normal anyway and willing to open your mind to something a bit different. For me Birdeatsbaby are a breath of fresh air and having caught them live around last album ‘Feast Of Hammers’ know they are well worth catching on that front and am very happy to see they are one of the latest additions to Alt-Fest. Check them out and enjoy the trip, The Bullet Within has got me right between the eyes!
(8.5/10 Pete Woods)