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Bird - Insides

  by Emma Haigh

published: 18 / 10 / 2004

Bird - Insides
Label: Ice Cream
Format: CD


Charming debut album from singer-songwriter and cellist Janie Price, AKA Bird, which shows itself to be "a simply orchestrated voyage inside a subconscious"

Inside the diminutive frame of Janie Price, Bird has its voice; and in T'he Insides' a rather charming debut. While some of the tracks do yield a bit of perplexity (why the slide guitar in ‘Rewind’? Why the howling refrain in ‘Behind Closed Eyes’?), 'The Insides' is a fluidly arranged graceful debut, a deeply sincere documentary of the small things. Fluidly arranged and quite precisely produced, The Insides sees Bird in collaboration with Icelandic musician Eberg, and for the most part is beautifully done. Janie Price’s stunningly resonant vocals are found highlighted by Eberg’s deftness for textural arrangements using contributions from Mikey Rowe (Hammond organ, especially in ‘Shoes Should All Cost the Same’), Matt Cheadle and Michael Jarvis (softly pulsing acoustic guitar) and Gunnar Benn (haunting oboe in ‘Falling Like Stars’). Where ‘Rewind’ and ‘Runaway’ betray Bird’s true gifts, it is in tracks like ‘We Care,’ Falling Like Stars,’ ‘Shoes Should All Cost the Same’ and ‘Machine Ballerina’ that instrumentals and shuddering lyrics spin together dreamlike, and Janie Price’s vocal depth soar crystalline. In the hypnagogic and sinistral ‘We Care’ Janie’s soothing voice gradually dissolves into fragments of a lost thought as the song splinters into stray melodica and traces of a musical toy box left open. Soft acoustic guitar accompanies wistful vocals to join looping strains of oboe and trebling piano. The gasping vocals in ‘Shoes’ echo hauntingly again against Price’s mournful cello with a slow undercurrent of aching organ. These are the songs that quietly wrap this album around you, pours it warmly through you, tremblingly touches your neck and kisses you softly. At times imbued with Fraggle Rock surrealism (‘We Care’), at times pervaded within symphonic beauty and a lovers’ caress (‘Landslide;’ ‘Shoes Should Cost the Same’), at times nothing more than a flickering daydream (‘Falling Like Stars’), at times a little – admittedly – cheesy (slide guitar – I just can’t it. It makes me giggle) and a little predictable (the sadly commercial, if catchy, ‘Slowly, Slowly’ and the similarly limiting ‘Runaway’), yet The Insides is as the title suggests. A simply orchestrated voyage inside a subconscious.

Track Listing:-
1 Behind Closed Eyes
2 We Care
3 Landslide
4 Rewind
5 Slowly Slowly
6 Runaway
7 Falling Like Stars
8 Love Songs On The Radio
9 Shoes Should All Cost The Same
10 Machine Ballerina

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