BRAND NEW/TOUR: Birds of Tokyo – “Plans”

I’ve been wondering for quite some time what Birds of Tokyo were doing with the new album. They released new single “The Saddest Thing I Know” a while ago (the clip is in 3D if you’ve got a pair of glasses floating around!), but there were no details on the new album.

But, good things come to those that wait. And things don’t get much better than this.

Due to be released on the 23rd of July, Birds of Tokyo’s third album, which is to be self-titled, is looking to be amazing. As always, Ian Kenny’s vocal melodies are brilliant. The softer ambient atmosphere is a bit of a throw away from previous tracks like “Silhouettic”, but let’s not forget, in terms of alternative music BoT really are on the poppier side of things, which is not intended as a derogatory description at all. I can easily see this being the album where they really break onto mainstream commercial radio. For such a solid band they deserve it too. So perhaps self-titling this album is the beginning of a new era for the band. Regardless of whether this actually happens or not, it doesn’t matter. This track is great, and I’ll be picking up their new album on release.

Birds of Tokyo have also announced an up-coming tour. It’s going to be their “every album tour”, and will showcase their new material alongside their classics. The band are now “bigger, bolder, more refined and more fearless”. And it certainly looks like they’re planning one hell of a special tour.

Dates:

September 22, 2010 – Adelaide, SA

September 24, 2010 – Brisbane, QLD

September 26, 2010 – Hobart, TAS

September 30, 2010 – Sydney, NSW

October 01, 2010 – Melbourne, VIC

October 02, 2010 – Fremantle, WA

REVIEW: Death Cab for Cutie – "Plans"

Well renowned indie rock group Death Cab for Cutie released their 6th studio album, "Plans", in 2005, to much acclaim.

There is a soft ambiance which inhabits the whole album from start to finish, respectfully adding to the overall tone by taking second place next to the subtle instrumentation, and the lyricism of Benjamin Gibbard, which are both high-lights of the album. Death Cab don’t do over-the-top. They have fluctuations in speed in their songs, yet retain an overall feeling in the music. The album has a style, as do the band. Which is a good thing if it’s pulled off well.

"Your Heart Is an Empty Room" seems to slow the album down a little. Not literally, but it doesn’t really contribute much, I feel, and seems a bit boring. "I Will Follow You into the Dark" is too worn for me. I’ve heard it a lot, and for some reason, as good as it is, it doesn’t really seem to fit in. Though I don’t think anything other than an acoustic guitar would have suited the song at all. "Different Names for the Same Thing" begins badly with the faux crackly sound quality seeming more tacky than a real contribution to the song. It may sound like I’m picking apart songs and ripping the album to shreds, but these are all minor aesthetic inconveniences to tell the truth. They don’t weight the album down and make it terrible in anyway.

"What Sarah Said" features simplistic piano used to great effect, as Gibbard sings about love, as he often does on this album. But the penultimate song is the real high-light of the album for me. "Brothers on a Hotel Bed" is full of off-beat drums, and the beautiful piano lines compliment Gibbard’s astonishing lyrics wonderfully.

"Plans" seems to drop at a few points, and there are qualities about it which I don’t enjoy, but those aside, it is a very good album. Its few faults are offset entirely in the long-run.

Score: 7/10