The Birthday Suit
The Eleventh Hour
You’ll like it if:
– You have a 90s rock nostalgia
– You think music spider-grams are quite cool
They call it noisy pop, I’d call it an original blend of catchy genres and wide influences. I am not that keen on labeling anyway, but this time The Birthday Suit work on making it even more challenging than usual. The debut ‘The Eleventh Hour’ jumps from a grungy stoner guitar (’Do you Ever?’) to power pop ballads (’They Say I Love You’), also giving a hint of the most carefree country pop, quite Boy and Bear-esque (’Don’t Look Down’). It’s like a huge spider diagram, in which also some of the big bands from the 90s (just to name one, Blink 182) can be spotted. It’s up to you whether this is a good or a bad thing.
The Birthday Suit is the new project of Idlewild guitarist/songwriter Rod Jones. Owing to the fact that Idlewild is currently on hiatus, Jones formed this brand new band that later last year released its debut, ‘The Eleventh Hour’.
The album itself seems to follow different music influences, such as the punk-pop of Blink 182 and Simple Plan (’The Eleventh Hour’, ‘World Gone By’, ‘See it All’), where noise and electric coexist with catchier tunes, without really standing out. Noisy but also more punk in its core are the Joy Formidable-esque female/male vocals of ‘Hope Me Home’, a track that coupled with ‘Do You Ever?’ is the ‘heaviest’ (pay attention to the inverted commas) of the whole full length. There is a bit of Placebo (’On My Own’), there is some dreamy indie rock with violins a là Cymbals Eat Guitars (’A Nation’), but another music influence heavily emphasized is the alt-country one, with some folkish tracks that almost lead us to a completely different atmosphere. Dire Straits meet Dylan, who had a jam session with Boy and Bear, all enriched by acoustic guitars and carefree tunes (’Don’t Look Down’, ‘Are You Ok?’). There is a last twist with ‘Talking Over You’, in which female/male vocals nod to Belle and Sebastian in a piano-driven twee pop track.
As I highlighted, with such a spider diagram it is quite impossible to love or hate this album, unless you are a big fan/hater of all the people I mentioned before. All I can recommend is to enjoy this album and its multifarious blend of musical colours, aware of its continuous mutations. Italo Calvino said that immobility was insanity, so why not go for a change?