Birds of Chicago 'Self-Titled' - Self-Release

These birds can sure sing and that much is obvious from the opening song.  Birds of Chicago are JT Nero and Allison Russell,  both of whom have released albums previously, Russell as a member of Po'Girl.  Here they bring their voices together on a set of soul-tinged Americana and roots rock. There is a lot going on in the mix, from a robust rhythm section to a wide variety of instruments including keyboards, brass, banjo, guitar and ukulele all adding interesting tones and texture. This is all marshalled into an interesting mix by the Birds themselves with Zach Goheen as producers.

Jeremy Lindsay (aka JT Nero) is the main writer of this strong material,   while Russell also brings a couple of songs to the party. Russell’s Before She Goes is a subtle understated song that shows her unique voice, especially  if you have not encountered it previously. Lindsey's song' Moonglow Tapeworm equally shows his vocal qualities on a song that manages to rhyme’ tapeworm’ and ’sojourn’ on what may be the only paean to a tapeworm you'll ever hear. Russell sings her beguiling Sans Souci in French, a song built on a insistent bass riff that is both funky and yet understated. There is a lot going on here that makes this an album to savour; one that has voice and instruments in harmony and homogeneity. 

Lindsay's songs are full of imagery that is revealed when you read the accompanying lyric booklet. This is also strong visual package that again shows that indie releases are often way ahead of their major label contemporaries. But it is the voices that are the focus and point of the Birds of Chicago. Under those voices are layers of music that draw the listened into its warm heart. Catch these Birds when you can.