Album Review: A Lot Like Birds – DIVISI

Whether we want to admit it or not, music fans alike are very fickle people who place insane pressure and demands upon those who make up our favorite acts. This pressure will naturally grow upon each successful release and tour as musicians continue striving to better and differentiate their new work from their previous one. In doing so, many musicians tend to deviate from the original path they set out on that garnered them their current level of acclaim and with it, the pressure builds even further. After signing to Equal Vision Records in late 2012 and releasing the beloved No Place, progressive rock band A Lot Like Birds had reached a new realm of fanfare, which years later would eventually lead to some major changes. With the loss of founding member Michael Littlefield and the following departure of fan-favorite Kurt Travis due to directional changes, the band found themselves at a crossroads between finding a sound that fit their current makeup or continuing down the path that got them to where they were now. Fortunately for music lovers around the world, they persevered and chose to find their own identity and the result is their incredible new album, DIVISI.

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Genre: Progressive Rock | Post Hardcore
Label: Equal Vision Records
Release: May 5, 2017
Connect: Facebook | Twitter
Purchase: iTunes | Google Play
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It’s important to note that the whole of what DIVISI offers up is stylistically different from the bands previous outings, and that is derived from the choice to find the sound that fit their current makeup best. Bands that go through member changes and try to retain the sound that got them to where they were tend to have a rougher experience with follow-up releases, so in this regard, A Lot Like Birds treaded carefully and chose the best route. These changes have resulted in a sound that lies more in the atmospheric and progressive rock realm than the previously heard post hardcore musings. That being said, there’s still subtle elements that are derived from their original, foundational sound, but the true nature of DIVISI lies within it setting up soundscapes that grab the listener, giving them a fluttery feeling of weightlessness and carelessness. The best way to describe the entirety of what this album sounds like while also highlighting its creation process lies within the realm of cinema, as it truly is an experience from beginning to end that meticulously weaves through listeners’ eardrums.

A Lot Like Birds “Always Burning, Always Dark”

A Lot Like Birds’ fourth full-length album DIVISI is out now. Find it at http://alotlikebirds.merchnow.com or digitally at https://allb.lnk.to/divisiID Follow: https://www.facebook.com/ALotLikeBirds https://twitter.com/alotlikebirds https://www.instagram.com/alotlikebirds Lyrics: Don’t we all arrive at the same place where we began? Don’t we all arrive where we began? Cinemagraph by Michael-Rex Carbonell #ALotLikeBirds #DIVISI

To accomplish the previously mentioned free-floating, cinematic experience, A Lot Like Birds intricately composed each track to softly build before exploding with a grandiose sonic experience that encapsulates listeners and transports them to different place. Accomplishing this sound is no easy task, yet it comes across extremely natural and easy throughout all of DIVISI. Take for example “Trace the Lines” which highlights opens up for angelic “ooohs” over a soft electric guitar as orchestral elements enter the fray leaving a feeling of sadness. These elements remain in place as the album flows into “Atoms in Evening”, but transitions to a ramped-up sound through fills and soaring melodies before leveling out and moving onto the spoken word “The Smoother the Stone”. Simply looking at this three-track span that only accounts for ¼ of the album might be doing a disservice, but it’s important to highlight as it shows how each song freely flows into one another through similar elements, lush melodies and incredible depth that showcases the craftsmanship that went into DIVISI.

While longtime fans may be slightly disappointed in the choice of heading down a path that differentiates from their original sound, after listening to DIVISI a multitude of times, it was clearly the best decision. Case in point lies with lyrical content and overall theme which still has a great level of detail and meaning while instrumentally, bits and pieces of their foundational sound has remained and simply been expanded upon in different directions. There will undoubtedly be (and already are) mixed reactions, but it’s obvious that A Lot Like Birds have found their stride as they’ve dealt with member and sound changes and that this is only the beginning of what’s to come.

 

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