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The Firebird Band - The City At Night (Cover Artwork)

The Firebird Band

The Firebird Band: The City At NightThe City At Night (2004)
Bifocal Media

Reviewer Rating: 3


Contributed by: JesseJesse
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Yep, Chris Broach went electronic. Who's Chris Broach, you ask? Don't you remember? He was the guy from Braid who got left out of Hey Mercedes! Alas, that might be too harsh of an introduction. Yes, Braid just did a summer tour and things are all reconciled between the members of the band, but if yo.
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Yep, Chris Broach went electronic. Who's Chris Broach, you ask? Don't you remember? He was the guy from Braid who got left out of Hey Mercedes! Alas, that might be too harsh of an introduction. Yes, Braid just did a summer tour and things are all reconciled between the members of the band, but if you were (are) a fan of The Firebird Band, I think it's just fair warning to inform you that they went electronic. I still don't know who John Isberg is outside of The Firebird Band.

The album is almost all real instruments, but the overall sound is a mix-up of dance-pop, indie rock, and electronic beeps and blips. And a lot of repetition. I feel a lot of Depeche Mode in the influence of this record, but the songs are just too long. They are all almost five minutes long, with some hitting eight and a half. And when each song is really just centered around one synth line and vocal hook that repeat themselves over and over and over, you really want to just skip to the next song, which is what I find myself doing often.

Don't get me wrong. This album isn't bad. In fact, I would have given it at least a seven and maybe an eight if it had more variety. Instead I find myself saying "Oh yeah, Depeche Mode was pretty sweet." Songs like the opener "Obsessive Compulsive" have a great, dancey groove, but I got bored three minutes into it, skipping to "Dangerous," which I ended up skipping after two minutes. Other songs that I really like are "Satellite Delay" and "The Deeper I Go, The Darker It Gets." What really draws me into the CD is the drumming. It's very inventive and is the work of Rob Kellenberger (Duvall, Tuesday, Slapstick). To me it overshadows the melodies.

So there you have it. A mediocre electro-indie-pop record that shows promise for a new direction for The Firebird Band.

 


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (December 29, 2004)

hey this is john from the firebird band. just wanted to say for the most part that it was a very fair review. i've read alot of these things and have agreed with some and disagreed with others. i find that alot of these writers tend to comment on the same songs which is interesting to me. i don't know if the taste in music of most critics is similar enough that the same songs tend to stand out or that the appeal of others is to a different audience. i'm really not sure how to take all this as this is the first record i've done.
when we wrote this record, at least for me, i wanted to take the music back to the feeling i had the first time i discovered great music. i had this older cousin simon and when i was younger i used to go visit him and just be amazed by all the records he had, stuff i'd never heard of before, the cure, the smiths, the church, yaz, sparxx, echo and the bunnymen, depeche mode. up until that point most of my exposure to music was the beatles and the beach boys. so i guess, without trying to be derivative, that's something i wanted to accomplish with the record, and basically just make something i liked to listen to.
to give you some background on the record, we wrote most of the songs 2 years before we recorded the record. the acoustic song, art, is from an aborted session with matt talbot from hum that we recorded in 2001. we put that on the album as a way to bridge the past to where we are now and give some old fans something to remember us by. the songs satellite delay and next wave, were songs i wrote while sitting around waiting to finish the record. the last song, unlimited(my favorite track) we wrote and recorded after we had finished in the studio. as for rob's drums, chris took his beats apart and rearranged them, down to each individual hit and created totally new beats from those drum tracks.
i think if anything, i agree that the songs do go on too long. i guess that is the trouble with making a dance record vs. making a rock record, as far as expectations and songcraft. playing the material live, you can always tell when your losing the crowd, something we didn't have the luxury of doing before the record was recorded, but i suppose it comes down to who do you play music for, the crowd or yourself. to me, when you do both, seems to be the most rewarding. anyways, this is just my opinion and you can take it for what it's worth.
really i just wanted to say thanks to everyone for taking a chance on what we're doing, for coming to the shows, checking out the record, putting us up for the night and being so supportive. got to meet some really great people out of this experience and that's what it's really all about. as to being a crap band or seeing a crap show, at the end of the day, it's just music and you're welcome to whatever opinion you want.
oh yeah, jesse, i used to play in a band called the blackouts in 2001-2002.

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

Actually wait, you're just an idiot. Idiot.

Anonymous (December 24, 2004)

Please remember that you said Funeral Diner sounded like Murder by Death, when Funeral Diner was around before Murder by Death. So I kinda got a little peeved. Peeved? Meh. Don't worry about responding, we just have WAAAAAAY different tastes in music ... as in opposite.

Jesse (December 22, 2004)

Hey, dumbass. Sounding like, and taking influence from are two WAY different things. It sounds nothing like Depeche Mode, but there's a Depeche Mode INFLUENCE.

SilentStorms (December 21, 2004)

You suck Jesse. You blaze bands for sounding like someone else when they don't (Funeral Diner and Murder by Death), and then you (almost) commend this band for sounding like Depeche Mode. Kiss my ass.

Anonymous (December 21, 2004)

wheres the oi!?

Anonymous (December 20, 2004)

This band sucks. Why can't you just admit that in the review. Or are you friends with this guy? It is Lame shit. I hate when these underground guys start a new band that is just an abortion of musical ideas. Keep it in your own bedroom on your keyboard where it belongs. I wasted $ 12 on this guy and Travis Morrison acting like dorks dancing to wacked out keyboard sounds. i can do that if you like, but I won't charge you the 12 bucks. I'm a bit more considerate than that. stinks

Anonymous (December 20, 2004)

their keyboard player is a babe.... if babe ment scary looking dinosaur.

Jesse (December 19, 2004)

As I said, their first material as Firebird Suite/Project wasn't electronic.

Anonymous (December 19, 2004)

From the review:

but if you were (are) a fan of The Firebird Band, I think it's just fair warning to inform you that they went electronic.

And you said, you stood by your review. Nice to see you recanting.

Jesse (December 19, 2004)

Yes we've established the fact that this isn't their first electronic material.

Anonymous (December 19, 2004)

Chris Broach and The Firebird Band have released a few EPs that were all electronic. They are now all out of print......this is not their first electonic material.

And both Braid and HM are good in their own way, but its no question Chris/Bob made the songs foir Braid hands down.

Marlon (December 18, 2004)

Braid were good because it was a "better than the sum of it's parts" kinda thing. But Chris was definitely what made that band good. However, Hey Mercedes are terrible and "mediocre" is a very apt description.

On top of which, I am led to believe that braid's more "mathy" elements were to Chris' merits given Firebird band play with them on occasion and Hey Mercedes play in only 4/4 or 3/4 on occasion. Odd Time Signatures are what made braid so neat/different (which is groundbreaking considering they are the only emo-rock-pop band that comes to mind that successfully pulled that off minus joan of arc who got too strange so you could argue exempts them from the "successfully" part)

In Summation

Before 8/21/99 Bob, Chris, Todd, Roy, and Damon all Ruled

8/22/99 on: Chris Ruled. Roy didn't do much, and the rest became boring predictable washed up but MARKETABLE "nice guys"

Making shit up doesn't make people agree with you, it just makes you look like an ass. Braid and Hey Mercedes are both good bands and do different things. Get over yourself, nobody thinks your cool because you keep supporting Broach and Braid.

Jesse (December 18, 2004)

Where does it say that I think this is their first electronic album? It's a statement made for those who didn't know. Original Firebird Suite/Project material was very much not electronic. Chris Broach was in Braid, another band that was very much not electronic. So, before you make any assumptions, actually read the review.

Anonymous (December 18, 2004)

Jesse you still stand by your review? You still think this is the first ever Firebird CD thats electronic at all? Once again, please get a hold of their earlier stuff.

Oh....and if you think Chris wasn't influential in Braid you are a moron. Everyone knows that Bob and Chris together were the members who wrote all the songs.....

Jesse (December 18, 2004)

Oh, for the comment about time signatures, I can guarantee you that was all Bob. "Our Weekend Starts on Wednesday" is a 7/4 song, not to mention all the other random bars of time signatures on "Every Night Fireworks." Yeah, Chris Broach did good work with Braid but he wasn't as huge of an influence as every makes him to be. Just because Hey Mercedes doesn't sound like Braid, and they got rid of a member doesn't meant that the member was the key element to the original sound. Changing a band's name and format can happen just within the main songwriters preferences.

Anonymous (December 18, 2004)

Spell Check in the house! You spell better! But you're stil wrong!

Jesse (December 18, 2004)

Congratulations on spelling "Congradulations." Shows me what kind of intellect I'm dealing with. Just because I refer to him as the guy left out of Hey Mercedes doesn't mean that's not how I know him. It's my duty to write reviews relevant to the audience of the webzine. Most of the webzine's audience is young, therefore, explaining him in terms of Hey Mercedes is much more relevant.

I stand by my review and the opinion that these songs are far too repetitive. Don't like it? Go read the Pitchfork review. They basically say the same thing, only give it a higher rating. And no, I didn't read the Pitchfork review before writing my own.

Anonymous (December 18, 2004)

Braid were good because it was a "better than the sum of it's parts" kinda thing. But Chris was definitely what made that band good. However, Hey Mercedes are terrible and "mediocre" is a very apt description.

On top of which, I am led to believe that braid's more "mathy" elements were to Chris' merits given Firebird band play with them on occasion and Hey Mercedes play in only 4/4 or 3/4 on occasion. Odd Time Signatures are what made braid so neat/different (which is groundbreaking considering they are the only emo-rock-pop band that comes to mind that successfully pulled that off minus joan of arc who got too strange so you could argue exempts them from the "successfully" part)

In Summation

Before 8/21/99 Bob, Chris, Todd, Roy, and Damon all Ruled

8/22/99 on: Chris Ruled. Roy didn't do much, and the rest became boring predictable washed up but MARKETABLE "nice guys"

Anonymous (December 18, 2004)

---Firebird is an awesome browser.

I believe you mean Firefox

Marlon (December 18, 2004)

I never said he didn't contribute, I said he didn't make it what it was.

kenjamin (December 18, 2004)

Sure Chris screamed "yeah!" a whole lot but he was just as important as Bob Nanna in Braid. He wrote alot of the songs you probably really like.

Marlon (December 18, 2004)

Screaming "Yeah!" isn't groundbreaking. Broach is an awesome guy but he was not what made Braid what it was. And saying Hey Mercedes is just "mediocore emo- pop punk" is pretty much shere ignorance.

Anonymous (December 18, 2004)

I love the fact that you young kids know chris broach as the "guy left out of hey mercedes".

but, to a good deal of us we know him as the difference between hey mercedes' mediocre emo-pop and Braid's groundbreaking work.

He was the one who kept things interesting and edgy, something not marketable nor interesting to kids (who generally like watered down shit like HM).

Congradulations, music sucks, and 3/4 of one of my favorite bands ever is just another shitty band on vagrant.

Long Live Chris Broach.

Anonymous (December 18, 2004)

rob kellenberger is the new josh freese

inagreendase (December 18, 2004)

thanks to the editors for giving ex-braid records for high schoolers to muddle over.

I think the situation changes a little bit when the newer project sounds NOTHING LIKE Braid.

Anonymous (December 18, 2004)

Hey jesse, thanks for another flaming turd of a review. are you 18 like anchors? how's high school? thanks to the editors for giving ex-braid records for high schoolers to muddle over. why not send over the jawbreaker re-issue? fucking eh...this makes me miss scott

kenjamin (December 18, 2004)

People brush him off but chris broach brought alot to Braid. This seems like something i should check out. and oh, why does braid have their own icon. I mean they broke up long before this site was formed.

Anonymous (December 18, 2004)

Firebird is an awesome browser.

Anonymous (December 18, 2004)

Jesse maybe you should listen to the Firebird's older material.....its all electronic too, they just didn‚??t suddenly turn electronic‚?¶‚?¶they have been like that since the start.

Score is for the review, this is an awesome album

theundergroundscene (December 18, 2004)

A review from Jesse that isn't a total ass-raping of the album at hand? Sweeeeeeeeeeet.

This sounds kind of interesting.

It sucks that they left this dude out of Hey Mercedes. But kind of funny too.

Hahah.

Anonymous (December 18, 2004)

The cover art is pretty cool. It reminds me of the transparency effects in Syphon Filter 2.

-Chinatown

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