Every March is the alias for Northern Irish songwriter Barry Shields. He recently released Bird Eye View. There are eleven songs on the album and a mix of styles. Shields mentions he is “Influenced by the likes of Conor Oberst, Eels, Frightened Rabbit, Beck and Daniel Johnson.” I was definitely picking up on some Beck influence.
Up first is “Moonstruck Youth” which is couple of acoustic guitar chords and vocals which sound like it’s coming out of a transistor radio. It’s a melancholy song in the spirit of Sufjan Stevens or Bright Eyes. Up next is “Those Dogs Of Mine” which is a solid song. It’s a 4/4 beat with strummed chords, some atmosphere and what sounds a bit like an accordion. The vocals were very distorted on this song.
“Sad Marching Song” was a solid tune as well. The organ sounded great and I thought the vocal melodies were well done. There are some unexpected transitions and some catchy hooks as well. There are slow moving and sad soundscapes on “Mutterings” which felt more like something you would hear to create mood in a song. “Horror, Flesh, Sounds'' is a slow burn and “Moonstruck You” is a melancholy folk song similar to Bright Eyes and other like-minded artists.
The album felt scattered in terms of direction and tone. There are soundscapes, soft acoustic ballads and different production styles. It was hard to feel like I had a grip on the signature sound of the artist. Some of the songs like “Picking Your Bones” had that quality where it felt like it was coming from in the box. I think a live drummer would have helped to counter some of this.
On that note there are some well crafted songs on this album. I thought the sound that really worked best for him were his songs that sounded similar to Odelay-era Beck material.
Overall, I thought this was a solid album. My impression was this artist is just getting started and I look forward to where he goes from here.
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