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29 Blackbirds - EP: 2AM (2009)

25 Apr 2009 // A review by Daniel Boom
I've been commissioned (asked) to review the EP 2AM by the group 29 Blackbirds.

Not only do 29 Blackbirds bake pies, with pockets full of rye - they sing songs of sixpence too. There are six tracks on this EP. Six quite agreeable tracks that I haven't objected to repeat playing over the last few days. "Tangled" is the best if you ask me, it's the one song that has been popping into my head sometimes while not even listening to it. Actually I think that is an important aspect of songs that people know and consider to be good songs. Call it a calculated, cold-blooded use of formulas and hooks and blame it on other music conspiracy theory if you like, but I think if a song can replay in your head it means the song has a strong identity to it. Of course that's not all, you want it to be a good song too, instead of an unwelcome flashback - like "Flashdance". What a feeling!

This group has quite a straightforward sound. It's not too overproduced or feature-heavy. After reviewing Evermore recently and Rare Shot Blue (Electronica) before that, it's nice to listen to a small rock combo. Rock's my bag. Well I thought it was until I got into stuff like Country, early R&B and Jazz later on. But you get what I mean, I'm a guitar fan. This guy's a pretty tasteful player too. The recording has almost a live sound. The piano/keyboard and guitar, drums, bass all exhibit intuitive interplay on the tracks, and I think 29 Blackbirds are quite a capable group of musicians. I notice the bassist, drummer and guitar player are good at shifting dynamics within songs while at the same time keeping the music simple and effective - they're working together to make good tracks. Most of the texture comes from the guitar, which is probably why it sounds more like traditional rock to me. That, and the obvious stylistic/rhythmic influences of blues, R&B, hard rock and even jazz (at a stretch. Well, "Creeping" has a swing rhythm). The geetar sounds like a geetar, and the pianer sounds like a pianer - and I reckons that's plenty powerful enough for me.

I'll mention the singer too. He's not bad. I think he sounds a bit "eww" on track 3, "Crazy". But he's a capable singer and sings quite well for the most part. It's hard to describe the voice. I think at times he sounds (to me) reminiscent of Mike Patton from Faith No More. When Mike sang, rather than screamed psychotically, that is.

So anyway, this EP isn't bad at all. The 3 best songs in my opinion are "Tangled", "Step Inside" and "A Little Time". The music doesn't sound faddish. They're people who like good music and are aiming to make some of their own. Thanks for the opportunity to hear your stuff, 29 Blackbirds.

About 29 Blackbirds

29 Blackbirds was formed by brothers Luke & Shaun Cranston, Dan Insley from Tomorrow Comes In Silence and Dave Rhodes from Stylus at the end of 2007. The musicians had all met and played in bands in the Auckland metal/alternative music scene and wanted to try something different.

Because each member has such varied musical taste the band has evolved into something completely different from any of the members previous musical outings.

Since 29 Blackbirds was formed they have tried out various guitarists but none quite fit the bands vision, so for the initial song writing and demoing sessions Shaun played guitar.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for 29 Blackbirds


Year: 2009
Type: EP

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