Birds And Buildings – Bantam To Behemoth (2008)

BirdsBuildings_Bantam4.5 out of 5 Stars!

I don’t often use the word “adventurous” when describing Prog-Rock bands these days, since most groups within the genre are firmly expanding on ideas/sounds already well-established by the granddaddy’s of Prog-Rock—Genesis, Yes, Gentle Giant, ELP, Zappa, etc. But when it comes to Birds And Buildings, that “adventurous” word does indeed apply. What style of music does this group from Maryland play exactly? Prog-Rock, Jazz-Rock, Eclectic-Rock, Bizarre-Rock? I’m not sure what the musicians had in mind when first getting together and developing a sound, but what they ended up with is certainly a merging of all of those genre labels.

Indeed, this mostly instrumental band has such a wide range of styles, and seemed to incorporate just about every musical instrument apart from the proverbial kitchen sink into its music, that I cannot give anything but grand kudos to Birds And Buildings for attempting something totally different from just about anything else being produced nowadays. On highly diverse tracks such as “Battalion,” “Caution Congregates and Forms a Storm,” “Tunguska,” “Yucatan 65: The Agitation of the Mass,” and (keeping the band’s name in mind) the sardonically titled “Birds Flying Into Buildings,” the music can be chaotic one moment, then pastoral the next, then jarring or dreamy, then jaw-droppingly beautiful or wonderfully dissonant, then…well, you name it, the exact meaning of “Progressive” rock. I could never quite anticipate where the music would lead, and after sampling only a few tracks off Bantam To Behemoth, I realized that I didn’t quite care, considering the ride was so outrageously fun.

Therefore, you name the sub-genre of Prog-Rock (Neo-Prog, Canterbury Prog, Avant-Garde Prog, etc.) and Birds And Buildings covers it. As I said before, the music can be jaw-dropping. Thankfully, the musicians came together for another album, 2013’s Multipurpose Trap, which proved nearly as impressive, and two of the band members (keyboardist/guitarist Dan Britton—formerly of Cerebus Effect—and bassist/guitarist Brett D’Anon) are also current members of Deluge Grander, another highly creative act that delivers music in a myriad of styles. But I have to say, that when Britton and D’Anon join up with sax/woodwind player Brian Falkowski and drummer/trumpeter/viola player Malcolm McDuffie in Birds and Buildings, things get really entertaining…just expect the unexpected.

 

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