I really didn’t know what to make of Boston-based Bird Mancini when they slid their last album across my desk a few weeks back. They’re introduction letter described themselves as kind of a quirky accordion classic-rock band. After about 50 minutes of listening to their music, I was still pretty confused, but relieved that the accordion wasn’t the main attraction.
The band’s core is made up of Ruby Bird and Billy Carl Mancini, two veteran musicians who’ve been playing music one way or another for the past quarter-century. During that time they picked up a lot of influences and talent, though apparently few clever ideas for band names.
Acoustically, they remind me of the kind of band your best friend’s dad in high school would be a member of. The kind that played rock/blues jam sessions at the local family bar and grill. Now if you take that band and imagine them really, really good and producing original content, you’ll be in the ballpark of Bird Mancini.
Their last album Funny Day sounds like a modern day fusion of blue-collar music from the early 60s to the mid 80s. In one song they’ll lay down some country-rock in the style of the Brothers Allman or Doobie and in the next they’ll tap into the psychedelic sound and draw up memories of Strawberry Alarm Clock.
While I enjoyed the songs individually, the thing that really made me appreciate the album was that it really was an album. Bird and Mancini have been around long enough to remember when a record was supposed to be a cohesive whole, not just a sampler of radio singles. While you hear a lot of indie bands pay lip service to this idea, it’s rare to see one pursue it as far as Bird Mancini does. In one instance, they break up the flow with a minute of choral harmonies that sounds way more gospel than classic rock. Or if that doesn’t do it for you, how about a two minute guitar intro? When was the last time you heard one of those?
Overall, the album is a lot of fun. The band has a great throw-back sound and the talent to make it work in the modern world. While some younger listeners may feel like they’ve been left out of an inside joke with this one, anyone who was raised on classic rock will be glad they picked this album up.
Albums available at CD Baby.