A big perk to liking a multitude of bands is that about every week, I hear a newly released song with which I fall in love. This perk can offer to me one of three experiences: a track from a new band to my ears that I find impressive, a new track from an expectedly amazing band that I already love, or–the rare, third experience–a track that made me realize why I fell in love with a band in the first place. Sacramento’s A Lot Like Birds have given me that third experience with their new track “Kuroi Ledge”, which comes from their upcoming Equal Vision debut, No Place.
I’ll admit that I had never heard of ALLB before Kurt Travis (ex-Dance Gavin Dance) joined the band, but that didn’t deter me from checking out their debut record Plan B. What I came to notice is that Travis had so much potential with this band that their future really couldn’t let me down. Their next effort, Conversation Piece, solidified that for me and has become one of my all-time favorite pieces of music.
Coming back to the present, it’s been almost a month since the official announcement of No Place and I, like many fans, have been twiddling my thumbs itching for a taste of this darkly psychological record presented in the concept of a tormented house, “each song, one room”. A few days ago, we were graced with the first single from the record. Given that “Kuroi Ledge” is track eight of ten, it’s safe to assume that we as listeners of the forthcoming record will have already been through many twists and turns within this dramatic idea that we need a time to recap.
“Kuroi Ledge” showcases my favorite variable of A Lot Like Birds, which is Travis and Cory Lockwood’s outstanding lyricism and back-and-forth vocals, reminding me deeply of Conversation Piece‘s “The Blowtorch Is Applied to the Sugar”. Something new we’re given vocally is just straightforwardly spoken lines. Not yelling, not screaming, just speech. People may be deterred by this, but it really is something the track needs. While we’re meant to feel vulnerable and, sometimes, need to be fully aware of that fact, it’s safe to say that nobody feels as vulnerable as Lockwood, delivering the pounding questions about midway through: “Can I turn back?/Is it too late?/Is there some place I belong?/Is there any place to call a home?”
There’s a minor interlude about two-thirds into the song that also reminds me of “Blowtorch” in that it contains a bell-like synth to potentially mimic a doorbell chime (not as obvious/genius as the album teaser video’s chime, mind you). Instrumentally, every single member of the band has exceedingly become more polished. Joe Arrington’s drum patterns haven’t altered, yet he’s managed to maintain a sound to take us away from the dark outdoors into this troubled home. Michael Littlefield’s bass tone gives the underlying groove that the track rightfully deserves, making it a major step up. Michael Franzino and Ben Wiacek have absolutely found their grounding here, switching facades from the impressive spastic riffs of their past work to something that truly takes the reigns right alongside the lyrics.
What we have here is teamwork within a band at its finest. Thanks to Equal Vision, the band are no longer stuck in that weird limbo state of being “too prog for the hardcore scene, yet too hardcore for the prog scene” and have recently found a niche accompanied by a solid fan base. A Lot Like Birds may not know where home truly is, but they’ve found a great one within EVR and within their fans. The only way to go from here is up the stairs.
A Lot Like Birds‘ No Place will be released on October 29th via Equal Vision Records. You can stream “Kuroi Ledge” below:
Prog-Rock/Post-Hardcore | Equal Vision Records