Music Reviews

Radio Birdman

The Essential Radio Birdman (1974-1978)

Sub Pop

Listening to the 70 minutes of music here, it’s difficult to understand why Radio Birdman remains somewhat of a cult band here in the US. This Australian six-piece formed a devastating counterpart to the Stooges/MC5/Detroit bum rush that was peaking at about the same time. Obviously influenced by the Motor City Sound, to the point of wearing those influences on their sleeve (i.e. “I-94”), Radio Birdman still managed to fucken’ rock out in ways not heard in the Northern Hemisphere. In addition to the traditional twin-guitar attack, Radio Birdman had a dedicated keyboard player, somewhat of an oddity in an era of raging sonic attack, but something which the band often used to great advantage. The liner notes explain the importance of the band on Australian music, and to the world in general, but it doesn’t take a music historian to deduce that the band’s white-hot attitude must have spawned many an Aussie teen to pick up a guitar. When Radio Birdman does slow down, as in “Love Kills,” it seems to be only for effect, as the scorching lyrical acridity smolders through the delicate piano fills.

A single spin is all it takes to understand why Radio Birdman has achieved such a following. Listen for yourself, and set some space aside next to Iggy on your shelf.

Sub Pop: http://www.subpop.com


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