16 December 2014, (Goathead Record Collective)
By Joe DeBonis
Two of the most emotional and powerful genres of music have to be punk and folk. Both based on sentiments and past experiences, they are two different ways to look at life incidents through music. One is notoriously a bit angry and one is a bit nostalgic, but both get the job of reminiscing and reflecting done quite well. So the idea to combine them and morph them into something more would make logical sense. There has been relative success for bands like Andrew Jackson Jihad doing just that, but there really has yet to be a whole lot of true mainstream folk/ punk bands to make it big. On the other hand, there have been quite a few groups to try and emulate the idea that folk and punk is a pair worth listening to who just need a bit more coverage before they can say they are on the same level as Andrew Jackson Jihad.
Especially in Albuquerque, the local music scene has a good amount of bands taking the leap of faith into the somewhat unexplored genre of folk/punk that include the Leaky Faces, Arroyo Deathmatch and the subject of this review: Bird Friend. A folk/punk band from Albuquerque, New Mexico, they released their second album right at the end of December and has put forward quite a nice collection of folk/punk tunes. With a mixture of country western sounding banjo, a nice punk drawl and some fiddle to boot, not to mention a quick pace to almost every song, the band is throwing their hat into the ring of bands trying to move this genre along.
There is a lot of potential riding with this band. Musically the band is tight, but with enough rawness to make sure the feel of punk is still realized. Geoff Himsel, the lead vocalist, has the perfect intonation with his voice, part nasally, part aggressive, to lend itself remarkably well to the music. Discussing everything from getting out of Albuquerque to the true impacts of what life has in store for us, there is lyrical content that needs multiple listens to be peeled apart to fully understand what they are really saying. Much like with the way Andrew Jackson Jihad tackles monumental topics; there is some serious weight to what Himsel is singing about. Not to mention, the anger that really is needed to gather that punk label is there and front and center on “Sucker & St. Joan,” when Himsel cries “So go ahead, I’ll see you in Hell, sure as shit I know the firelight will suit you well.” The balance of aggression and wisdom is in perfect sync on this album and one of the things that makes it so accessible.
Albuquerque will never cease to amaze me. Known to outsiders for Breaking Bad and green chile, the local music scene that exists doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves. From hardcore to folk punk, Albuquerque has produced quite a few talented musicians and Bird Friend may very well join that list very soon.
Rating: Liked It