|Les Big Byrd|
|They Worshipped Cats|
Les Big Byrd — They Worshipped Cats
•≡• Psych–dazed Swedish rockers formed by former members of Fireside and the Caesars.
Born: 2011 in Stockholm, Sweden
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Album release: May 5, 2014
Record Label: PNKSLM Recordings/'a' Records
1. Indus Waves 4:54
2. Tinnitus Ætérnum 4:51
3. They Worshipped Cats 4:49
4. Vi Borde Prata Men Det Är För Sent 4:48
5. Just One Time 4:01
6. White Week 4:55
7. War In The Street 4:27
8. 1,2,3,4 Morte 4:19
9. Back To Bagarmossen 4:34
• Les Big Byrd / Jonas Lundqvist / Joakim Åhlund 1
• Joakim Åhlund 2, 5, 6, 8
• Les Big Byrd / Anton Newcombe 3
• Anton Newcombe / Joakim Åhlund 4
• Johansson / Joakim Åhlund 7
• Robin Keller / Joakim Åhlund 9
• Joakim Åhlund Composer, Group Member, Lyricist, Mixing, Producer
• Niklas Alexandersson Photography
• Les Big Byrd Composer, Photography, Primary Artist
• Martin Ehrencrona Group Member
• Johansson Composer
• Frans Johansson Group Member
• John The Fisherman Layout
• Nino Keller Group Member
• Robin Keller Composer
• Maria Lindén Featured Artist
• Jonas Lundqvist Composer
• Anton Newcombe Composer, Featured Artist, Guitar, Keyboards
• Simon Nordberg Mixing
• Valentin Nordström Cover Art
• Björn Olofsson Photography
• Anton Sebbfolk Sleeve Art
• Danilo Stankovic Back Cover
Review by Fred Thomas; Score: ****
• Swedish psych rockers Les Big Byrd deliver a unique blend of minimal Krautrock–inspired one–chord riff glory and sinister rock from the darkest corners of the night on their masterfully produced debut full–length They Worshipped Cats. The band had already been in existence for a few years when a chance counter at a Stockholm record store with a visiting Anton Newcombe of Brian Jonestown Massacre led to an invitation for them to record and jam for a few days in his Berlin studio.
• Members of Les Big Byrd had previously put in time with internationally touring acts like Fireside and the Caesars, and some had gone from working with those bands to acting as recording engineers at some of Sweden’s better studios. The familiarity with recording techniques can be heard in the bright sheen and perfectly vintage sounds of They Worshipped Cats, which finds flawless performances meeting production lifted from the top tier of Krautrock records. Muted, echo–heavy vocals and caffeinated rhythms make the jumpy “Tinnitus Ætérnum” sound like a brilliantly colorful outtake from Faust IV, while cold drum machines and vaporous synths call to mind Harmonium or Cluster just moments later on the airy title track. Newcombe’s involvement in the project as a guest and mentor–like figure can be felt as well, if more so on the less Kraut–centric and more rocking tunes. The guttural wall of guitars and reverb–soaked vocals that make up “Back to Bagarmossen” have all the sinister swagger and palpable sense of danger as Brian Jonestown Massacre at their best. The combination of Motorik meditations and depraved madman rock culminates in an incredibly strong debut heavy on trippy textures, wandering synths, and remarkably tight production.
Artist Biography by Fred Thomas
• Psych–leaning indie act Les Big Byrd was formed in Stockholm, Sweden around 2011 by Joakim Åhlund and Frans Johansson. Two stalwarts of the Swedish underground music scene, Åhlund was formerly of garage–flavored act the Caesars and also worked with the more electronic project Teddybears. Johansson had been part of Fireside, a rock band signed for a time to Def American. After the dissolution of both of their bands, the two came together over a love of experimental rock sounds, forming Les Big Byrd with former Fireside drummer Nino Keller and keyboardist Konie. • The band, made up of music heads and studio engineers, began jamming and cultivating ideas, eventually releasing single Zig–Smile to moderate buzz. A chance encounter at a record store between the Les Big Byrd folks and a visiting Anton Newcombe (on tour with Brian Jonestown Massacre) resulted in a lengthy conversation about music, which eventually led to Newcombe inviting the band to his Berlin studios for a few days of jamming. The recordings resulted in the band's 2014 debut album They Worshipped Cats. A vinyl–only companion piece, the Back to Bagarmossen 10", was released around the same time. :: http://www.allmusic.com/
By Martyn Coppack
• Featuring what may be the best album cover ever, Sweden's Les Big Byrd are a mysterious prospect and the only indication of where we may be heading is that they have a slight connection to the mighty GOAT. Are we in for some manic ya yah's and masked dancers then? Well, not quite but take a quick Google search and look at some of the images, this band are cool, seriously cool!
• Thankfully that image is transferred to the rather excellent music contained in this debut album They Worshipped Cats and you are going to be hard–pressed to find an album that makes you want to dance so much this year, or maybe ever gain. This is a full on frontal assault on your inhibitions and makes you want to wave your hands in the air like a lunatic. There really is no escape, Les Big Byrd seem to have tapped into some primal instinct that makes you move.
• So how do they do this? Well, over the course of nine songs they thrust you straight into some dayglo world of strobe lights and hallucinogenic lighting and that's just from the prominent organ playing throughout. Add to this the shuddering rhythm section and glossy synths and you are in what would amount to pop heaven if it wasn't so damn dirty and lo–fi. It's a sound which harks back to trance, 80's electronica and as we're in Sweden, the pop sensibility of ABBA. Not that these songs are pop in any way, it's more of a feeling.
• 'Indus Waves' is a good example of a Les Big Byrd song which is all brash instrumentation melded in a way to make it not brash. It's bouncy and invigorating and sets it's stall out for the rest of the album. From here on in you are sucked into their world and you will not want to leave.
• There's subtle hints of darkness here too. The phenomenal title track is a disturbing come down after the glorious opening two songs. It's echoing keyboard getting further and further lost within the extreme synth noises that end up washing all melodic sensibility out of the song. Like being bleached but in a nice way, it's emotional and scary but there is a light at the end.
• 'Vi Borde Prata Men Dat Ar For Sent' channels Lowlife period New Order into a wonderful little electronic anthem that sounds timeless and also a little jarring after the previous song. It's almost as if a light has arrived and shown the way forward and we are only four songs into the album. By then end as the backing vocals soar you will have a big stupid grin on your face and wonder why this band haven't existed before.
• The ethereal 'Just One Time' dips it's toes into dream pop territory before the throbbing bass of 'White Week' ups the ante with it's carnivalesque appeal. This is then matched by the paisley indie of 'War In The Street' which sounds like it has been dripped in LSD and dropped right into Sgt Pepper land. An almost marching beat plays out against a 60's pastiche and completely out does any other band who have tried to match that classic sound. It's just brilliant, no other words can describe it.
• There's more tricks up their sleeve too as the bouncy '1,2,3,4, Morte' hits a winning streak as it's kaleidoscopic synth riff offers a last bit of madness before the straight laced 'Back To Bagarmossen' brings you right back down as they turn their hand to some deft indie rock. It's a bit of a come down after what has gone before but serves it's purpose in that it levels your mind before you dip right back into this prime bucket of lysergy.
• There really isn't any other band quite like Les Big Byrd. Both a pastiche and completely original, they seem to have hit upon a sound which is truly fascinating. • Heavily psychedelic but pure pop as well, They Worshipped Cats is one hell of a statement. It will be interesting to see where this excellent band go next. :: http://echoesanddust.com/
Agent: greg @intlrescueartists.com (US)/morgan @moondog.se (all other)
|Les Big Byrd|
|They Worshipped Cats|