Creature With The Atom Brain – The Birds Fly Low (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
CREATURE With The Atom Brain are a highly regarded act among fellow musicians, having been asked to tour with the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Alice in Chains and the Mark Lanegan Band. It’s easy to see why in some cases.
Founded originally as a one-man outfit by Aldo Struyf in 2005, the outfit has since expanded while the musical inspiration draws from the classic rock acts of years gone by.
Hence, there’s a big emphasis on guitar and drum solos, there are psychedelic tendencies, experimental oddities and nods to everyone from Zeppelin to Dire Straits via QUOTSA and The Doors.
When it’s good, it’s good. When it’s off, it’s sometimes difficult to take.
Highlights include the scorching third track Southern Wild, which contains some of the best drum arrangements you’re likely to hear in a long time, and some guitar solos to rival Brothers in Arms era Mark Knopfler and company.
Wolf Eye runs it close, despite a less satisfying vocal. But it does have some great brass.
While album opener Hit The Sky introduces them to the newcomer with some terrific guitar work (a brooding bass-line and some intricate riff-making).
Another favourite is Black Rider Run, which definitely carries more than a little whiff of Jim Morrison about it (circa Riders On The Storm), and Break Me Blue has a cracking intro that more than delivers the goods throughout the rest of the track.
But… and there is a but, they sometimes get a little too carried away.
Sayonara drones on a little and is flat by comparison to their best material, Nightlife is a little too muddled, Red River underwhelms and bonus track R-Frequency is a really, really, really bad parting shot that is too trippy, too experimental and too inaccessible. It means you depart the album feeling annoyed rather than inspired.
But if you can remember to hit the off button prior to that point and focus on the highlights, then it’s easy to see why Creature With The Atom Brain are so highly regarded in certain musical circles. Lovers of classic rock should also check them out.
Download picks: Hit The Sky, Wolf Eye, Southern Wind, Black Rider Run, Break Me Blue