Local four-piece Wind-Up Birds released their debut album, Casual Music Album, on March 19th this spring, capturing their blend of sunny pop songs with quirky lyrics on record. The band have been performing in Vancouver for the last couple years, alongside groups such as Peach Pit, The Jins, and Winona Forever. Referencing everything from The X-Files (“I’m in love with Scully”) to sartorial choices, their music is laid-back and has a crisp sound to it. This is heard in the relationship-focused “Earl,” which features jazz-inflected drumming and happy-go-lucky pop guitar.
There’s a natural playfulness to these songs, and it makes them a treat to hear. Rollicking drums and guitar work reminiscent of Mac DeMarco kick off the first track, “Peach.” The lyrics paint comical images: “He’s got a pair of aviators/And he wears them to the pool/He doesn’t have a lot of friends but/He knows sunglasses make him cool.” The song invokes the solace that can be found in projecting a certain image, but remains tongue-in-cheek.
Wind-Up Birds try their hand at more downtempo tracks as well, such as the cool refrain of “Frank,” which asks: “Won’t you ever love me?” While their instrumentation is stripped down, the players are inventive – their skill is heard in wandering guitar lines and intuitive bass playing. The verses of “Charles Grocery” strike more of an indie rock vein than their pop-oriented work, via stark guitar lines that are almost reminiscent of 2000’s Death Cab For Cutie, hinting at the group’s versatility. As it is early in the band’s career, Wind-Up Birds have the ability to surprise listeners as they develop their sound. The band’s music brings to mind that of others on the local scene, such as the effortless, fun indie rockers, Tanglers, which bodes well for future show lineups.
Casual Music Album is certainly a promising debut, exemplifying Wind-Up Birds’ exploratory approach to songwriting drawing in new fans. Their music has a warm, inviting quality to it, capturing youthful abandon mixed with relatable anxieties. Vancouverites are in for a treat as this band develops their sound.
Wind Up Birds will be performing alongside Montreal’s Fleece and fellow locals, Thee Magic Circle, on June 16th at 333. More dates to follow.