The Doomed Bird Of Providence

Now then, I mention this man a lot on this Blog – Andi Elliott. He switched me onto a group called The Doomed Bird Of Providence, a Folk outfit from down south, and for it’s worth, this is my review of their latest album COLLISION/DETECTION v7 – EP.

According to their site (oh-so-handy-link-here), The Doomed Bird Of Providence started out as a vehicle for the lead to write about the early colonial times in Australia – I think your work is very emotive, Mark Kluzek. Kluzek moved from Oz to the UK and had been living here for some time. Upon reading The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes – a history of convict Australia – his first couple of songs were loosely based on characters in the aforementioned book. Over a period of years a variety of musicians joined Kluzek to perform and record these and other songs.

“Early support for the band was provided by the Ex Gratia label who released a song on the Ex Gratia compilation Specialisation is for Insects.

The first release was a four track ep on Laily Recordings. Contributors to this ep were also performing live with The Doomed Bird of Providence; Drew Barker (SOUP, Croft), Stafford Glover (Extreme Noise Terror, Beatglider, (((Oh Dear) and Daniel Merrill (Dead Rat Orchestra, Daniel Merrill and the Flowers of Evil).

It received some polite press but most importantly sparked the interest of Justin and Helen Watson of the label Front and Follow. Front and Follow offered to release the debut album by The Doomed Bird of Providence. Called Will Ever Pray, the album received high praise from reviewers as well as considerable airplay on BBC6 thanks to the support of Tom Ravenscroft. Richard Acton (ex Limn) and Rachel Laurence made significant contributions to the album and were regularly playing live with the band. Other contributors included Tom Knight and Autumn Ferment artist Flake Brown. The album was mastered by ex-Rothko and current Trace Recordings head Mark Beazley.

The Doomed Bird of Providence by this stage were a nebulous live act that performed with anything from 2 to 7 members. After the album’s release Barney Monger started playing percussion with the band.

The band released a single in December 2011 and recorded a few Christmas themed songs for Tom Ravenscroft’s BBC6 show. 2012 saw the band working on the Front & Follow project Long Division with Remainders (released early 2013), developing songs for a new album and playing live. It has also seen the addition of Katie English (Isnaj Dui) performing flute live with the band. Katie, along with Richard, Drew, Stafford, Rachel, Mark and violinist Angela Chan have all contributed to the second album. The release is a work in progress due out late 2013 on Front & Follow.”

ON WITH THE REVIEW:

The purely instrumental album is very haunting given the reading above. It is a bleak surrender to all hope that the convicts must have relinquished on their journey to the other side of the world. It sits in nicely with the rest of their oeuvre, but not as a stand alone piece. I think you need to take in the totality of their impressive back catalogue (a task I would heartily endorse) in order to appreciate this EP.

In essence – listen to their albums in chronological order in order to get the best from them.

The Wounded Platelayer is my personal stand out track – a fusion of echoing field recordings that resonate as percussion – quite like the jangling of metal on metal, almost chains on bars, to the plummeting pitch of a fiddle. This is not a happy tune, yet it leaves me feeling like a spectator observing somebody lose all hope and coming out cleansed on the otherside.

A fantastic EP – Can’t wait for them to release the next one – That will be an excuse to sit down and work my way through their back catalogue chronologically ….. again …. and again …… and again. Worth returning to.

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