Virgin of the Birds – Banquet Years
There’s almost a jazzy kind of ballroom shuffle to this record, the latest in a series of freely downloadable EPs from Seattle’s Virgin of the Birds. I don’t quite know what I mean by that, but it’s the best way I can think to describe the pace and feel of Banquet Years.
I can almost picture Jon Rooney singing this stuff in a near-empty working men’s club which hadn’t been redecorated since 1972, dressed in a white tuxedo with a cigarette hanging out the corner of his mouth. Again, don’t ask me why, it’s just an impression.
It is indie music though, in the most generic (and hence borderline meaningless) sense of the term, but the laid-back basslines and shaky egg give the music a very louche feel, while the piano played like raindrops brings a little mystery, like the occasional glint of reflection from a badly-lit glitterball.
This series of EPs is an odd one, in the sense that they all retain their own identity, whilst still coming across as a single body of work. It’s almost like they’re chapters in the same story, because whilst you could easily transplant any song from any EP to another without breaking anything, the way they are arranged definitely has the feeling of being the right way to do it.
Jon was a little despondent, when he played our New Year’s party (see video below), about the prospect of being able to sell enough records for it to be worth even making them, which is one of the reasons why these EPs are all free. Personally, though, I think it’s a bit of a travesty in all truth, because these knock seven shades of shit out of a lot of stuff I’ve happily paid full whack for in the past and would happily pay for again. Sometimes all the free this and free that in the internet age saddens me a little, because it seems to force artists into the position where they end up feeling they have to accept that that is all that their work is worth, which is blatantly not the case, particularly not here.