The Uniter - November 4, 2004

There is a phenomenal amount of great music coming off of the prairies these days, and a whole lot of it is being made by the creative minds of those affiliated with the Teargas Recording Tree.  Between Saskatoon and Winnipeg, members of these bands are forging far from the beaten path, blending styles and re-interpreting influences to create new sounds that, while paying respect to the sources, still manage to sound fresh.  No Birds fits perfectly into this mould.

Based in Saskatoon, the band is comprised of ten members, all of whom are in high school.  These talented multi-instrumentalists weave dense, melodic soundscapes that effortlessly meld a wide variety of genres into a cohesive whole.  Complex structures and dynamics, and a very balanced interplay of instruments keep the songs interesting throughout, and thematic variations (crashing-mellow-crashing) create a palpable tension that only increases the listener's involvement.

While the rhythmic foundation is sold (check track 1), what really sets these guys apart is the informed use of both horns and strings to create an atmosphere that really does defy catagorization.  Most of the songs are multi-sectioned instrumental pieces, but there are a few choice vocal tracks, particularly track 6, 'How can I say "I love you" after hearing you say "I love you,"' which features a beautiful harmonized vocal.

There is something a little raw about this album, but it only serves to enhance the overall feeling of an unhurried, almost improvisational, process at work.

As a first attempt at capturing the feel of this band, this album is fantastic.  Especially considering the relative youth of the members, if this is any indication of their potential, they will be a potent force before too long. 

-C.M.