May 8, 2013

Futurebirds: Baba Yaga

Fat Possum

Futurebirds has been long been counted as an Athens act that has broken the barrier of the Loop. With each of the band's releases, it has seemed bent on refining its brand of reverb-rock, and with its latest LP, Baba Yaga, Futurebirds offers what is easily its best collection to date.

There are certainly some standout tracks on Baba Yaga that are well worth the price of admission alone. “The Light,” a banjo-centric tune about waiting on a lover to get home, bucks the ubiquitous Avett Brothers-style deployment of the instrument and opts for the right mixture of rootsy folk and pop pleasure. On "Serial Bowls," the band dips into more traditional alt-country territory (think the Old 97’s with an echoey twist). Featuring clean leads coupled with vocal harmonies, "Serial Bowls," the album’s obvious standout song, is representative of the record as a whole: not a huge departure from the band’s earlier records, but definitely an indicator that it's compressing its sound quite a bit, despite longer arrangements.

Sure, there are songs that venture into the six-minute-plus territory (“Dig,” “Keith and Donna,” “Death Awaits” and album closer “St. Summercamp”), but they are much more focused than on earlier releases. If anything, a few of the shorter, sillier tunes on the record (“The Doewg”) might distract listeners from what is otherwise a coherent, not to mention impressive, set of songs. 4 out of 5.