Music Reviews

The Lesser Birds of Paradise

It Isn’t the Fall

Loose Thread

Although this is only the second album from Mark Janka’s The Lesser Birds of Paradise – following 2000’s A Suitable Frame – they have already managed to place themselves at the forefront of Chicago’s thriving alt-country scene. Their lush, inviting melodies at first betray the complexities of the songs, and provide easy access into what ultimately prove to be truly rewarding listening experiences. And this six-track EP sees them adding new elements to their already multi-layered sound, both in terms of what they strive to achieve and in terms of how they set about achieving it.

Opening track “If You Wanted” is a fantastic slab of laid-back Americana, showcasing LBP’s new-found love for instruments like the theremin, sampled mellotron, and stylophone, which add subtle layers to their already intriguing folk music. Along with vibes, mellotron flute, optigan organ, and the good old upright bass, these are all welcome additions to their set-up, and help to separate them even further from their alt-country contemporaries.

With their twisted narratives, laid-back cowpunk strums, and naive psychedelia, this EP marks a broadening and a sharpening of The Lesser Birds of Paradise’s musical register, and sees them reclaiming their position as one of the finest contemporary folk bands around.

Loose Thread Records: http://www.loosethread.com


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