Bird Call - The Animals Know
Anyone familiar with Brooklynite Chiara Angelicola's work from her previous releases Masquerade and Bird Songs may be in for a surprise with her latest forthcoming EP release The Animals Know. She shed not only her primarily folk-rock sound with a country edge for a much more intimate bluesy ethereal style, but also changed the name to Bird Call. It's all about a refreshing newness on this record for an already unique and promising artist.
Chiara is teamed up with producer Joel Hamilton (whose credits include Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Talib Kweli, Justin Timberlake, The Black Keys, and many more). The result is a creative venture that is both short and sweet, as well as extremely focused. All at once the music is enchanting, contemplative, romantic, majestic, bluesy, and ever beautiful.
It opens up with a slightly quirky piano riff in "Waltz in the Snow". The song is deceivingly simple-sounding. Peel back the layers and you'll find a musical bed made up of strings, horns, piano, drums, and Chiara's voice (an instrument in its own right). The chorus is my favorite part, both for its melody and words, "There's no monsters round here, in Brooklyn".
"Bye, Bye Honeymoon" is my favorite track out of the bunch. For the first forty seconds or so, it has nothing but piano, bass, guitar, and vocals. Then bursting out of nowhere is a steady drum and clap rhythm that raises the energy level a hundred percent without Chiara having to raise the volume of her voice. She makes no effort to match the intensity of the song - nor does she need to.
The Animals Know is a solid effort through and through. People who are already fans of artists such as Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse, and even Billie Holiday will be right at home with Bird Call. Returning fans of Chiara Angelicola may be disappointed at the turn her music has taken from past work. What can I say? Some people don't like change. That being said, the change is not an erroneous one but rather an issue of maturity and growth. There is quality and true artistry represented here. My only complaint about the EP is that it is just that - an EP. No points taken off for that though. I look forward to some longer releases in the future.
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