Post-emo is not a term we use very frequently. The worlds of post-rock and emo are in some ways rather diametric to each other, with one mostly implying open space and textural experimentation, with the other being explicitly emotional and narrative. You can probably guess which is which.
But every once in a while these opposing worlds do in fact come face to face. When done tastefully, it all goes off with a bang, leaving a crater in your consciousness – and possibly your headphones. The latest to leave these lasting impressions on us is Dead Bird. And no, we are not talking about the Arkansas doom band. This Brighton-based bird features Chris Collis of TTNG fame and Thomas Wagstaff. There’s also a trumpet feature from the impetulant Garret Karp.
In the Abscene Of is a powder keg, exploding with pensive dynamics. “Shell that Echoes Only” is a true ride, featuring a winding little progression that eventually gives way to impassioned screams just as you begin to wonder if it’s an instrumental project. But it also awakened a core-memory from years back that I can’t help but expound upon here:
In the days before Andrew Srack (also of Glazier) and myself started Muscle Beach Petting Zoo, we were pretty well known locally for our drunken debauchery. One night, we decided to trawl the town and check out as many concerts as we could before blacking out. We saw Couches, we went to a blues jam, a toga party, and then, although I’m not quite sure how, someone let us into Blair House. Blair House, at the time, was the hottest DIY hardcore living room you could book in Eugene. It was at this point that a violent blaze of post-screamo set us straight. Little did we know it, but Senza was about to tear into a set. As Senza’s drummer screamed at the absolute top of their lungs without a microphone, they still managed to overpower the drums, bass, and shrieking guitars. I remember turning to look at Andrew with my jaw agape, but my expression was nothing compared to the look of actual horror on his face. It was time to leave.
Andrew was relatively speechless, but I knew he was as impressed as he was terrified with the sheer energy of it all. We stood outside for a few minutes, reversing the deafness with some strangers over smokes and a box of cereal. I’m still trying to remember where we got the cereal, but I do remember that it was about that time that Andrew suggested that we start our own band. Anyway.
I got those feelings all over again when I listened to this Dead Bird album. Something about the rawness of everything took me back to the broken heart that lives at the core of so many bands, whether or not they sound like Senza or Dead Bird. You might not call it pleasurable, but you can’t help but call it real, and sometimes that’s more important – especially in genres like hardcore and emo.
“That Part of Wonder That Is Mine” is another standout, discordant yet uplifting instrumental and heavy post-breakdown vocals. You can find this chemistry all over the record, but overall, it’s closer “Mono No Aware” that stuck with us the most. Wagstaff’s spoken word passages are varied throughout the record, but seem most effectively, even effortlessly delivered here. If you’re looking for something raw, powerful, and heartbreaking, give In the Absence Of a try. It’s a real throwback to early 2000’s screamo, and you don’t have to lie to us: we know you’re always looking for those.
Whew! We’re gonna go windmill kick a few things and buy some women’s jeans, be right back. In the meantime, you can buy a ticket to the band’s first show in Switzerland coming up in September here. Honestly we bet this stuff is gonna be amazing live. Coming up we’ve got features from Pound and Honeybender, and lots more. If you’re absolutely rolling in it, feel free to buy us a coffee here, because more coffee means more coverage. No pressure though – it’s a nasty habit. Wherever you are, we hope you’re well, and appreciate you sticking with us. Talk soon!