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Heart Caves - EP

Bobby Birdman

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Album Review

Just when it seemed safe to peg Bobby Birdman as a purveyor of electronica-infused sadcore, his Heart Caves EP takes a sharp sonic left turn into chilly electronic pop that, when combined with his melancholy vocals, almost feels like a sadder and wiser response to the Postal Service's sweeter version of this sound. It's a radical change from the dreamy, drifting Born Free Forever, which was released earlier in 2003 but was actually completed two years earlier. While that album was itself a considerable departure from his Let Me In debut, Heart Caves would be almost unrecognizable if it weren't for Birdman's dolorous voice. Fittingly, the EP revolves around the ideas of resurrection and reinvention, both musically and lyrically; on the cheeky, day-glo synth pop of "I Will Come Again," his ghostly singing and the rinky-dink preset sounds are at fascinating, if not entirely successful, odds with each other. More often than not, though, the odd pairing works, particularly on the jarring "And Then It Begins," which ticks and chimes like a nervous clock as Birdman sings about being "a big brand new baby with a nosebleed." The stiff, spare drumbeats and heavy bass on "Gone Beyond" manage to evoke state-of-the-art hip-hop as well as Falco's "Puttin' on the Ritz" — and the song features clever lyrics like "days are getting shorter, night belongs to me" to boot. "Let My Burden Be" recalls the softer sounds of Born Free Forever, but sounds a bit monotonous compared to the sharp contrasts and musical hyperactivity of the EP's first two-thirds. The elongated static, vocoders, and stuttering beats of "Ultra Shape" are also somewhat anticlimactic, making the rest of Heart Caves that much more puzzling. Fortunately, though, it's the kind of puzzle that's more intriguing than frustrating.

Biography

Born: 2001 in Portland, OR

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

An experimental indie folkie who later added electronic pop to his repertoire, Bobby Birdman is the alter ego of singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Rob Kieswetter. Originally from the Portland, OR area, Kieswetter began playing in the late ’90s with his first band Badical Turbo Radness, who released their first and only album To the Rescue in 1997. By the following year, the group had broken up and Kieswetter adopted the Bobby Birdman moniker, which was given to him by Little Wings' Kyle Field....
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Heart Caves - EP, Bobby Birdman
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