Gah! I glance upon the title of the album, Birds And Bees, and I’m instantly taken back to when I had “the talk” with my uncle, who used puppets to demonstrate the lovemaking process. I lead a sheltered life, alright? Oh, hang on. It says I’m reviewing Birds And Beasts. I must have misread that. That’s rendered my embarrassing confession as nothing more than a needless cry for help, and so I swiftly move on and introduce you to the latest effort from Out Of The Woods. That’s the artist’s name, not a strange kind of metaphor.
So let’s crack on, shall we? We’ll do it track by track because that’s the way I like it, and I lack any originality. Anyway, here we go!
This track is full of wonder and oozing with charm. It’s an acoustic number, with vocals right up my alley and a perfect string instrumentation to boot. With reassurance being the central theme of the song, as the title suggests, it’s a sad tune, but in a weirdly pleasant way. Does that make sense? Who knows, but that’s what it is.
Silence You With Love
The second track shifts the mood considerably. It’s a lot more old school with trumpets that transport you back in time. I picture this being played in a large lounge, with mafia bosses negotiating loudly over territory. It bops! Is that a descriptive word? No. Does it represent how I feel about Silence You With Love? Yes. On to the next one.
Blanket Of Light
Next up is Blanket Of Light, which has already visually impressed this listener. The only kind of blanket I have aspired to obtain in the past is a heated one, now my goals have changed, but unfortunately, my financial constraints have not, so I’ll continue to sleep with a pile of hoodies over my cold body. This album conjures up a lot of imagery, with Blanket Of Light making me picture two cowboys going out to duel, while I hide in the bar, drink and lose at poker. I love the guitar riff in the background; it’s incredibly alluring, and this tune is, yet again, showing off more variety in the artist’s arsenal.
Finally, the often overlooked chameleon is getting its own song. Make more tracks about chameleons, please! Chameleon Song is, in actuality, a concept based on how an artist changes themselves from time to time or based on their destination. It’s Florence And The Machine-esque and my favourite so far.
This track is bloody sexy! The running guitar riff throughout is like a metronome; keeping the song in time, ticking along. It almost gives a Game Of Thrones vibe, but then I’m somewhat unsure if that’s because it has winter in the title and my tiny brain has only so much room for connections. Winter Calls feels like a dedication to an unseen person and makes me jump to conclusions of two lovers driving to Mexico to evade the law, while this track blares through the sound system. I hope they have the appropriate paperwork. Worried now.
I Am An Island
We progress into I Am An Island, a statement I have heard before and been confused about in equal measure. Do I like it? Yes, I do. Can I say why? No. But then if I looked into why I like the things I do, I would stop sniffing the end of highlighter pens, and nobody wants that. I Am An Island is in keeping with the theme of the rest of Birds And Beasts; it’s phenomenal and captivating. The piano and strings work in tandem to create a surreal atmosphere, with “I am an island, of bones and skin”. The concept reminds me of Radiohead’s complexity, and it demands interpretation. It’s simply beautiful.
I Remember You
Something you would say to an old friend or someone you’ve just caught out trying to avoid you, I Remember You is up next. Acoustic guitar leads the storm, with Out Of The Woods setting an atmosphere all their own. This song looks at your mind as a messy room and clears out the clutter, giving you a sense of meditation. It’s got themes of a lost personality that the artist is dying to reconnect with; a person they feel that is entirely different from their current, seemingly inferior form. It’s about finding yourself again, and I find myself welling up listening to it. I down a beer and continue on, yelling manly things to try to ignore the inevitable tears this track is conjuring. Let’s move on immediately!
Another animal in the title! I love it. Maybe it’ll sample Tony The Tiger, with some mad rap or dubstep, I wonder as I click play. Nope, even better, it’s an acoustic number. I can imagine watching this at an intimate gig, feeling like it’s almost being sung directly to me. This one is ethereal, bringing an outer-worldly quality with it.
Scars All Over
This track already gives a heavy implication within its title alone, but on the contrary; it feels like it’s handled delicately and with care. This one is atmospheric in the vein of a Mogwai or Explosions In The Sky record, with the supremely amazing vocals of Ditte Grube accompanying it perfectly. It’s a bit of a slower song, allowing us to take a breath and reflect on the album as a whole thus far. Obviously, I’ll give a conclusion at the end of this review, but spoiler alert, it’ll be a bit of a brown-nosing.
This is the last song on Birds And Beasts, and I’m immediately sad that the ride is over. It’s the longest track on the album, clocking in at just over seven minutes, and this one feels like I’m listening to a Bon Iver record. It shifts the reflective quality, to that of an uplifting and joyful one, and I realise why they picked this song to close out Birds And Beasts. It’s a picture-perfect way to do it and leaves you wanting more, with a cute, innocent tone being the culmination of everything Out Of The Woods has achieved.
The whole album has been a bit of a journey. It feels more like a story or an entire piece rather than a bunch of songs strung together. I am in love with the act’s work, and I cannot wait to see what she has in store next. Keep an eye out for Out Of The Woods. Birds And Beasts is out now.