One of the problems of being an indie rock band these days is finding ways to give your audience something they haven’t already heard. In releasing an EP like Birdfeeder to a generation that has been weaned on the likes of The Dismemberment Plan and Built To Spill, Big Awesome run a very real risk of adding their name to indie rock’s already overcrowded graveyard — one which is littered with the corpses of white, male guitar bands from the early noughties.
Whether Big Awesome actually have anything new to add to the genre remains to be seen. Whilst their material certainly isn’t as clunky as their unfortunate choice of band name, it hardly breaks the mould — fans of the Seattle indie band Minus The Bear may feel a particularly sharp sense of déjà entendu here, especially on the road-trip rock of “Grey’s Birthday,” which could have been lifted straight off Highly Refined Pirates. Well-worn influences aside, musically, Birdfeeder jangles along harmlessly enough and comes across as a remarkably well-produced and tight release from a three-piece. Guitar lines are layered and the rhythm section is impressive, particularly on the multi-layered “Living With Love.” That said, vocalist John Blanken’s lyrics are lost on much of the EP, and when they are audible, they turn out to be cringe-worthy college-rock clichés, such as, “Cruisin’ to the island tonight, me and the boys have got nothing better to do/ We’re going to the triangle, but we’re a bunch of squares.”
Frustratingly, there are some genuinely catchy melodies to be had here, on the title track and the aforementioned Minus The Bear-plagiarising “Grey’s Birthday” especially, but overall Birdfeeder is an EP of contradictions. Hopefully the trio’s upcoming full length release will provide some more definitive answers.
(self-released, no address provided)