In their first release since the desolate and stunning Living Eyes (1981), Radio Birdman incorporates broad swaths of vocalist Rob Younger’s solo sound, that anxious, angry garage rock that used to come stamped with the New Christs logo. Mix that with the natural ebullience of a consortium of musical brothers delighted to have found their shared rhythm anew, and you’ve got an original, enticing return to form. Songwriting duties are now shared, with strong offerings throughout. High points include Deniz Tek’s "Die Like April," a haunted, psychedelic reel, Tek/Younger’s aggressive "We’ve Come So Far" and Pip Hoyle’s self-mythologizing "The Brotherhood of Al Wazah" and canivalesque title track. It sounds nothing like what they’ve done before, and yet it feels absolutely like Radio Birdman, with all the intelligence, passion and faith in the transcendent power of rock and roll that implies. Their debut American tour launches at the end of August in Los Angeles; watch this space for a full report.
So shocked to hear that songwriter Grant McLennan died in his sleep yesterday. The loss of a great artist and gentleman is always sad, but when it’s an artist whose creative life was so thoroughly meshed with another’s, it’s doubly tragic.
In memory of Grant, I’ve posted the Go-Betweens interview from Scram #14 (2000) on the Scram website.
Our thoughts are with Robert, Adele, Glenn and Grant’s family.