Free The Birds - Free The Birds [EP] (Cover Artwork)

Free The Birds

Free The Birds [EP] (2020)


I started writing this review back in early March while on my commute. The initial intro that I started drafting was as follows:

It’s not even 8am and I’ve already received an email related to a fire drill needing immediate attention when I get into the office. I’m crawling towards the tunnel aboard a disgusting NJ Transit train, staring out at another grey and dreary day here in the northeast. This coronavirus is starting to spread rapidly throughout the city, but you know what? Everything’s all good, maaan. I'm feeling fresh as I groove along to this new Free The Birds EP pumping euphoric joy into my limbic system. I think I’ll skip the subway today and walk the 20 blocks from Penn.

Cringe city. Yuck.

My intent, or angle, or whatever, was obviously to present this not-a-care-in-world vibe coming out of this new project from Turnstile’s Brendan Yates, in light of the inevitable world calamities. The record is a mood-booster, but to keep going down this path of presenting it as some sort of an escape just seems rather selfish and insensitive given our current state. Instead, I’ll just tell you why I had some fun with it and why you might enjoy it, without any societal comparisons.

Free The Birds is a change of pace for sure - trippy, wavy and soulful. Brendan and a cast of artistic and instrumental contributors serve up a blend of musical inspirations that spans decades. It’s a variety of sounds that together prompt you to just want to veg out, or like in the case of “Baby’s Gone”, urge to you pick up a brush, and prance around your house singing along. The disco-rock jam kicks off the EP and drives a continuous, quick strumming riff into your ears and through to your dancing socks.

“Window” is as cheerfully upbeat as the opener, but brings forth a more jazz pizzazz. Here, Brendan’s hardcore edge comes through very discreetly. He balances it out with sweet, whispery vocals, guiding you into the highlight of the record. The track breaks into jam-bandy, boogie-down bridge as he croons, “My soul is of a bird outside my window / It’s cold but I can’t control the way the wind blows,” as soothing sax-y grooviness amplifies your high. “Window” is, (hot take alert,) one of the best songs of 2020 thus far.

As you would expect from its title, “Desert Isle” is a mellow and dreamy 60s-inspired rock tune. Nothing to note about it, just some crying baby samples throughout. “Do U Miss All The” shuts the sesh down, highlighting woodwinds and electronics across a dark and calming number.

Free The Birds is more of an enhancer than an elixir. You won’t find yourself craving a daily dose, but when in need of a situational boost, it’ll do the trick.