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

The Firebird Band

The City At Night (2004)

Bifocal Media / Lucid

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.