The Birds by The Monikers mixes up some great influences into a smart concise EP. There are garage rock influences of bands like The Strokes and Kings Of Leon along with some more jazz-pop stylings of The Sea and Cake and a vocal influence from Patrick Stump. There are lots of catchy melodies and hooks throughout the record.
Two of the strongest elements of the group include their bassist and the harmony vocals that enhance almost every song. The bass tone is smart and fits each song nicely, and the melodic Peter Hook-like lines that are played are catchy and drive each song. The harmony vocals are gorgeous and complement the lead vocal very well, never getting in the way, only magnifying a great melodic line or harmonic progression.
The opening title track is a driving rocker. There are some shoegaze drenched guitars and some dance-y rhythms from the drums that move effortlessly back and forth to half time. The tone of the snare is a little hollow on this track, but it improves as the EP goes on. “Don’t Know What To Do” opens with an R&B like bass line and drum fill that is a fake out for the dreamy jazzy song that follows. The aforementioned gorgeous backing vocals fill out the space in the verses nicely. The bridge is well constructed and erupts into an excellent guitar solo that sounds like an edgier Jerry Garcia. “Get It To You” has some great, distorted guitar tone throughout.
“Through The Night” is a minor key jam that has the best drum tone on the EP. The closing track “Will To Fight” is a soulful ballad. The piano works and is a good addition to the song, interacting well with the guitar during the break between the first chorus and second verse.
Overall, the band has lots of great strengths going for it between good songwriting and excellent performances. There are some times that the lead guitar is playing a countermelody that is a little busy and distracting from the vocal, but most of the time it works as a an alternative motif. It would be great to hear the band focus on the tone of the instruments a bit more to enhance what is already going on.
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