Not everybody recognizes when a journey has begun. What makes Phil McGovern's Bird in Hand EP so special is that he lets you know when the journey begins, and he is always ready to guide you. McGovern composes both chilling and soothing electronic works. Less than a half-minute into the EP's eponymous title track he's already managed to plug more mystery, beauty and depth than most musicians can manage for an entire album. The best part is those nouns give way to more solid descriptors such as bouncy synth-pop and strobe light quick scale changing.
But, hey, you ever like feeling betrayed? The next song, "Shadow Traits" is squarely rooted in the 80s, but switches gears from Brian Eno-inspired ambiance to The Human League-style synth orchestrations. Then McGovern dabbles in cinematic guitar layering while slow patterns of thick synth lines lead the track in "Armchair Enthusiast."
"CFBDSIR2149-0403 (Alone in Space)" is the longest track on the EP, nearly ten minutes long, and also the simplest in design. Here McGovern experiments with deep ambiance with industrial textures, prolonged hums heavy on the string samples. It's not the most grabbing track, and indeed at times it feels like it could've been made by anybody but moments of drama make themselves known from time to time. The closer, "Double Down" still follows the industrial motif but in a far more aggressive way, with choppy synth lines at the forefront of the song while a disembodied robotic voice is felt more than heard. Make no mistake, though, this is still a danceable track, with the appropriate amount of guitar soloing toward the end.
Adventurous and mature, Bird in Hand harkens back to the time in 80s music when electronic was the big thing and the music to concentrate on. It is highly recommended. AND he's taking donations to help rebuild a school in Haiti. An egalitarian electronic entrepreneur.
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