No Birds - Don't Rely On Dying Young.         
Written by Spider-Will     
Tuesday, 22 June 2004

The German philosopher Immanuel Kant is said to have self described his impetus for writing The Critique of Pure Reason (the philosophical equivalent of the Beatles for those who don’t know it) as having been awakened from his dogmatic slumber by David Hume. In a less 16th century German Idealist genius sort of way, I have to admit to having had a similar experience recently, at the hands of Saskatoon’s own No Birds (and thus this review).

Moving well past the old maxim that ‘just because you’re a local band, doesn’t mean you get to suck’, No Birds debut CD Don't rely on dying young knocked my brain sideways and my heart all a flutter like only really bad (read: good) bourbon ought to. Post-rock goodness easily on par with the Constellation records crew output of the past several years, No Birds blends classical and jazz instrumentation (Cello, Violin, French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Alto Saxophone) with blissed out fuzzy guitars and a stellar rhythm section. Cause for further amazement is that all eight of these obviously talented musicians are still in high school (if you disagree, try to remember what you were up to in high school as a comparison…see, I told you so).

Post-rock as a genre does tend to slip into pretension sometimes, but with song titles such as “It will clearly be pyramid” and “Heavy Metal will never die” coupled with one of a kind packaging for every disc (a sweet and subtle fuck you to completists as well as a homemade hippy artifact), No Birds escape with feet firmly on the ground (and occasionally, tongues firmly in cheek). My early favorite track was the aptly titled “Suicide pact/ slumber party”, with its build from innocent gypsy accordion to acid-in-the-water-supply climax, with a little adapted Bing Crosby as denouement (ironic or not…you be the judge). Upon closer inspection however, “Givin’ up on Music” in all its nine minutes of capacious wonder wins the day, mostly because any band that can construct a nine minute song around a single guitar riff and still make it interesting deserves some serious respect.

What I’m trying to say here is this album is really good. In fact this album is so
good it makes me want to use descriptions like winter night snowflake-ish and midnight mushroom playground adventure. But I’m not going to do that, instead I’m gonna go with fucking relentless, as in relentlessly fantabulous and not as in resembling metal in any way (note to metal fans: stop it. Your embarrassing everybody, especially yourselves). You can (and should) check No Birds out for yourselves at www.teargasrecordingtree.com .