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Open Relationship

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Album Review

Chicago's Bird Names seem to be aiming for some of the charm and whimsy of Oklahoma's Flaming Lips on Open Relationship, which may be described simultaneously as lo-fi and high concept. Group members Albert Schatz, Colin Hartz, Nora Brank, and David Lineal, abetted by engineer Blue Hawaii (aka Griffin Rodriguez) take a bull-in-a-china-shop approach to the studio that involves overstuffed arrangements recorded at distortion levels with plenty of echo and reverb. There is a definite pop style, at least in intention, although the playing is relentlessly amateurish. "Treeless Island Peopled by Birds" sounds something like a collection of music boxes caught in a traffic jam, while "Discontent Among Men" could be a lost track from the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, that is, if it had been mixed by a monkey. There are chanted or recited words floating around here and there, although most of the vocals are wordless expressions such as "ah" and "na-na." The continually clashing sounds and bum notes make one appreciate the care put into Phil Spector's famous Wall of Sound. This music sounds like that wall crashing down.

Customer Reviews


Not the best work by the Bird names, but amazing nonetheless.

Are you kidding me!

I am giving this album 5 stars out of sympathy... I saw them live recently, and I litterally had to leave it was so bad... if you put 5 people together with no musical talent whatsoever, you will get the bird names... buy only if you really want to waste your money

Weird, but good.

I have a feeling this band is just now finding its sound and a handful of the tracks on here are indicative of that: Referents and Forgetting our Fathers for instance. Hope to hear more from them.


Formed: Chicago, IL

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

A lo-fi avant-pop quintet that came out of Chicago, IL in the first years of the 21st century, the Bird Names released their first album for Portland, OR label Unsound Records in 2007. Titled Wooden Lake/Sexual Diner, the album was a critical hit, scoring plaudits for Andrew Royal, Naomi Caffe, Colin Hartz, Eric Siegel, and David Lineal, who had been releasing material since roughly 2004. Earlier works, such as Fantic Yard, also contributed to making this space-pop collective music press darlings....
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Open Relationship, The Bird Names
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Customer Ratings