Reviews Search

Radio Birdman, "The Essential (1974-1978)"

I had never heard of Radio Birdman before hearing this CD. In fact,before I read the liner notes, brilliantly written by David Fricke ofRolling Stone fame, I thought that Radio Birdman might be a new bandtrying to create that hype machine around them by getting a whole bunchof people to say "No, they were contemporaries of the Ramones and theStooges. Yeah!" It all had a very Spinal Tap backstory to it. Then Iput on the CD. All I can say is it ate my words and thoughts right up.David Fricke says it beautifully in the notes: there hasn't been since,and there probably never will be, another band like Radio Birdman. Soit's good that Sub Pop is releasing this "Essential" collection, mostof which hasn't been available in the United States in 23 years. Theirfirst EP, "Burn My Eye" is included in its entirety, plus songs offboth their studio albums, and a few live tracks to give the listener anidea of what this band could pump out live, as many in America nevergot a chance to see that. From the opening notes of "Aloha Steve &Danno," which follow the sounds of the waves flowing in to shore, youknow you're in for a treat. This is almost surf punk: highly energetic,with snaky guitar lines and driving drum beats, and forceful,commanding vocals. It's all incredibly ahead of its time, from the teenrevolution cries of "New Race" to the sheer majestic glory of "DescentInto The Maelstrom." It's a shame they didn't release more. It's also ashame I've never heard of Radio Birdman. The time is now to spread theword, as Radio Birdman deserve their rightful place in the annals ofRock history.