Smoking Bird - "Losing Touch"
From Aural Innovations #19 (April 2002)
At first I assumed this was gonna be a retro-'70s stoner-rock type thing, the drums, bass and guitar (not to mention the group's name) having a heavy Sabbath tone, but then the vocals start in and the cat's out of the bag. Basically, Smoking Bird are a combo that have mediocre blues-rock musicianship, and that's all. The vocals don't set themselves apart from the numerous trendy pseudo-heavy '90s-Hetfield pop-metal whiners designed to appeal to young white American males. The first track was at least heavy in the classic rock sense, but "Fire Always Works" is one of those predictable modern AOR ballads where the singer makes the most of his obnoxious extended whine, before the inevitable power-chords make their appearance. The riffs and choruses are generic, rarely catchy enough to make it on the commercial stations that play the above-named type of shit. "The Last Bird" stands out a bit in that it's a more energetic Zeppelin-esque boogie tune... not too bad actually, besides of course the vocals. And the closing track "Mind Overdose" has some better riffing. But that's the most praise I can rustle up.
If this sounds more "ascerbic" than the usual, maybe it's because this is the sort of shit I'm forced to listen to at work, and if I'm gonna be forced to listen to anything I wouldn't necessily like, I'd prefer it be less formulaic or at least educational in some way. Perhaps they're no less generic than many of my favorite psyche bands, so ok, I'll give 'em the benefit of that (very tenuous) doubt. Then again, this approach to music leaves a lot less room for experimentation or individuality. I think these guys wanna be stars. Probably no one reading this would care, but here's the contact info just in case.
You can email Smoking Bird at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reviewed by Chuck Rosenberg