The Magnificent Birds of Prey – Kaleidoscope
Score 9/10 Stars
Music is moving. Sometimes it can bring one to tears and other times it can cause one to think more deeply. It can bring about feelings of rage or despondency and it can strip layers off your armor, casting you closer to the matters of the heart. And then there are times when music is so sonically and physically powerful that it is tectonic in its movement. Philadelphia musical foursome The Magnificent Birds of Prey are: friends from Philadelphia, New Jersey & Pittsburgh; the sound of the Northeast exports, Magnificent Birds of Prey reflects the loud, dirty and addictive nature of their respective suburbs, set to the heartbeat of the City of Brotherly Love and are as follows: Carl Kunz Jr. (Guitar / Vocals), Chris LaFrancis (Bass, Synths, Backing Vocals), Joel Adams (Drums & Percussion) and Lyle Kelch Jr. (Vocals / Guitar). Whether these four are perfectionists or whether this was truly a labor of love of all things rock that needed time to perfect, the end product proves its worth in just how well structured it is. This is a heartfelt musical project that isn’t going to be taken down easily and in fact is probably just getting started – very much like the power of rock – it a bit uncontrollable.
Kaleidoscope opens with “Sticks and Stones” with its let it rip, loose as a screw attitude, sloppy-tight, and awesome kickoff song as you can get without the pieces flying off. I get an image of seeing these three playing in a dingy smoke filled rock n’ roll club in Philadelphia and letting it rip. I’ve played in these kinds of bars before – you know a basement full of drifter gutter punks and nu-punks alike, unfinished cement floors, spray paint tags covering the walls, home brew cider and beer being sold for a buck a cup, and a single bare light bulb illuminating the whole affair. This band has a homebrew sound that’s comparable to a faded pair of blue jeans but make no mistake this is a high end production that also has a refined hard rock edge. I use the imagery because I’ve been to house parties like this and the live music in those dingy basements carried the same kind of energetic free as a bird vibe as this music does. Those illegal live music house parties were defining for me because everything was so raw, real, and with middle fingers held up proudly. This is the feeling I get when listening to tracks “Cant Wash My Soul” and “Writing Everything Away.”
I’d go on about lyrics because they are some of the best I’ve heard in a long time. They could be strung together run on sentences or they could be random bursts of conscious ‘I’m not taking this anymore” spew. Personally, I feel that the importance is more in the meat. The answer is in the aural landscape. The rhyme and reason is in the textured textbook style of this masterfully crafted music delivered loudly reminiscent of classic bands like Brad, 10 Years, Seether, Staind and Trapt. The music itself sets a stage, tone, and feeling. But the serenity is soon blown away by powerful chaos-factor of rock n’ roll that reaches mountain heights and swoops down into the darkest caverns, churning and chugging along, lumbering, picking up to dizzying speed and dashing the listener against all manner of surfaces.
Songs like “Lullaby” and “Drive” even pluck on the heart strings. This album hearkens to mind images of love, living life to the fullest, being true to one self and the good and bad of love within the vastness of time and space. Davidson is an above average vocalist.
This juicy group of songs from this latest and greatest The Magnificent Birds of Prey releases entitled Kaleidoscope delivers everything the tittle suggest. It’s colorful yet somewhat chaotic journey that will demand your submission. The music captures this attitude perfectly, and this reflects the band itself It’s in this environment a fan or listen can appreciate really good music that “keeps it real” It’s a well-structured and impressive foray that reaches into the abyss and cracks your heart wide open, which is something a lot of easy radio fed drones could use every now and again.