Rob Kieswetter’s parents may have thought it a little strange when blood started trickling from his mouth as he launched into a performance of So The Blood off his latest slab-o-silver for HUSH, Born Free Forever. Blood capsules, fake beards, camp outs and general mayhem are all business as usual for this young performer going by the stage name of Bobby Birdman. Off stage, Rob approaches his songwriting with the same spirit of subversion and what-the-hell creativity. This is a NESD zone, friends. (No Elliot Smith Derivatives)
But that’s not to say Born Free Forever isn’t pretty. What certain loosely-associated experimental artists have lost in terms of understatement and pop sensibility Bobby Birdman brings back in spades. It’s tempting to make comparisons with notables Sigur Rós, Amnesiac-era Radiohead, Brian Eno, Pink Floyd, Ziggy Stardust, and Microphones, but like anyone worth paying attention to (or falling in love with) he shuffles the deck in a way no one ever has before. This collection is a layered, panoramic, breathtakingly beautiful step up from his lauded HUSH debut Let Me In, a jump which can only be measured in light years.
The standout aspect would have to be Bobby Birdman’s voice. He’s a songbird. No debate. He doesn’t really even need the instrumentation (as anyone who has seen him perform a cappella will testify) but if the programmed clicks on So The Blood don’t just tickle your spine, you might want to get checked. Here we have some Brave New World type instrumentation dovetailing with Old World pop vocalist flair yielding the kind of success one tends to associate only with legends, like, say Björk.
So it’s true, we didn’t expect a masterpiece. We’re just a little label. But this is seriously some heavyweight, super duty, futuristic, bad ass, pretty music. Includes a full color, eight page landscape fold-out booklet with some trippy photoshopped photography by Abra Aucliffe.
Born Free 5:37
So The Blood 3:51
All Right 3:08
All Right (Reprise) 3:05
Demon Heart 2:54
Here I Am, All Broken Hearted 1:39
I Said “OK.” The Wind Said “No!” 3:00
I Hope / I Grow 5:21
The Fear 4:32
The Flood / The Blood 3 :08
I Have But To Know What I Want 2:31
The Something Inside 2:13