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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Birdy NumNum
The Courtship of Birdy NumNum (CD)

First things first. There was a sticker on the bubble mailer package this CD came in featuring Three's Company turned diet queen Suzanne Sommers. And the date on the sticker was 1978. Er, so before any research was even done, I had a feeling that Birdy NumNum's The Courtship Of Birdy NumNum CD might feature indie rock of a more "classical" persuasion.

Indeedy. Band leader Gregarious T. Cline has apparently chosen an obscure reference from the 1968 Peter Sellers movie "The Party" for his band moniker. Since this is before even my time, I'm going to fail miserably to make any witty comments about it. Similarly, for the music on this release, I had a harder time fully appreciating the psychadelic and bopping, 1960s infused leanings of the Num. This is not to say they aren't good. The songs are never ill-conceived, but much of the time revel in unabashed classic rock opera, though certain songs like "(She's A) Blue Metal Flake" remind me variously of R.E.M, the Byrds, and "Comfortably Numb" era Pink Floyd. The wackiness of "King Century", with its math rock sensibilities, will please indie pop peeps if they happen to dig either Moxy Fruvous or Sugarplastic.

For me, the most interesting part of the album started near the middle with "About Face". The mariachi feel to this song with lots of trumpets burping along in the background give a much needed kick to an otherwise standard tune. Also, the acoustic guitar runs would easily fit on an XTC album and the spanish interlude in the middle reminded me pleasantly of the end of Sissybar's "Daryl In Spain". The next two songs, "If I Could Be" and "Shoes", are crafted in a similar style to both Neutral Milk Hotel and Quasi.

So, if I was to sum up for you in one phrase the band Birdy NumNum (yes, we all hate to be labeled like this, but summarizing is how we reviewers earn our daily non-existent bread), it'd probably have to be: Elvis Costello, Jeff Mangum, and Robin Hitchcock out at a shagadelic bar spilling beer on each other in their haste to try and pick up on Suzanne Sommers, with Led Zeppelin and Yes blaring out at all of them from the speakers above.

- review by BY (4.9.03)        

Gregarious T. Cline
3801 N.E. Senate St.
Portland, Oregon 97232

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