The Whybirds - A Little Blood (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
THE third album from The Whybirds is a very different beasts from its predecessors. Meaner, darker, grittier, it also boasts a different approach.
But its born from struggle. Where once The Whybirds were comprised of four people, four singers, four songwriters, they now have been forced to contend with the amicable departure of bassist-songwriter-singer Taff Thatcher.
It almost ripped the band apart. But Dave Banks, Ben Haswell and Luke Tuchscherer eventually resolved to carry on, dispensing with the alt-country sound of their eponymous debut and 2010’s acclaimed Cold Blue Sky in favour of a more ragged approach.
Or, as Dave eloquently puts it: “Everything good we thought would happen to us leading up to and after Cold Blue Sky just didn’t. The new record is about three guys crashing into their thirties, and realising it isn’t what they thought it would be.”
That darker outlook is evident from the outset, whether in the name of the album (which suggests violence), or opening track Cheating Heart, a tale of betrayal that drips with hurt and frustration (“you know I got a cheating heart”). It’s a strong starting point, though… the gritty guitar riffs working well with a chorus that maintains a radio friendly melody and even an anthemic, sing-along nature.
The gritty guitar sound remains intact on the foot-stomping title track A Little Blood, which marries the sort of riff-making that Oasis would be proud of with a set of vocals that ought to appeal to Foo Fighters fans.
And while the remainder of the album may be full of stories of broken promises, battered hearts and choices having dire consequences (not to mention tales of the dejected, the down and out and the desperate), it’s far from a dreary affair.
There’s a robust sound throughout, which gives rise to plenty of hard-rocking and enjoyable songs in their own right.
Further highlights come in the form of The Cure, which drops a funky guitar strut, Never Let You Go, which is shot through with regret, More Than He Could Stand, which sounds like classic ZZ Top meets Don Henley, Kick, surely the most upbeat record on the LP with its livewire melodies and guitar licks, and Meet At The Bandstand, which has a Springsteen-like quality in its delivery and storytelling.
In short, we’re glad that The Whybirds continued to carry on. This is a really good record.
Download picks: Cheating Heart, A Little Blood, The Cure, Never Let You Go, More Than He Could Stand, Kick, Meet At The Bandstand