Album Review: “Lagoon”, by Bird Streets
Needing a bit of an emotional cleansing? Take a dip into Bird Streets’ Lagoon.
I listened to Bird Streets’ new album, Lagoon, on a day that started out sunny but rapidly devolved into a thunderstorm accompanied by the requisite torrential rain. I stopped only to ward off the eventual power surge/outage, but wonder if the sky was wounded by the emotion contained in this work. This album, created through collaboration in production and guest appearances, contains some Easter eggs in the form of clever phrasing; the inclusion of sitar, tanpura, and horns; a storyline from a novella (You Were Never Really Here by Jonathan Ames); and some sweet, 60s psychedelic rock that ends in a punch.
(A cool thing about deep diving into music is learning new instruments – tanpura: a long-necked plucked string instrument, originating from India [Wikipedia], and stumbling upon and reading new literature!)
I elicited a chuckle from John Brodeur when I mentioned my thought that the sky was actually crying as we discussed the making of this new collection. After I gave him a big, virtual hug, he and I dug into this “pre-and-post-panny” creation. When you listen to these tunes, you are first struck with the lush production and the layered instrumentation. After that first aural impression, the lyrics and the depth of feeling sink in and leave you thinking.
I asked Brodeur what he got out of making this collection. A question I was a bit hesitant to ask, given the emotion clearly represented in the music, tone, and lyrics. As you might guess, it was cathartic and helped him to process his feelings, as most music-making does for him. On the flip side, he hopes that people will recognize a well-written and produced work. Much like his music, that response is more layered. He seeks to help others facing the difficulties of life when facing breakups, divorce, and addiction through sharing and the making of a connection with another facing those same life challenges.
Brodeur released three teaser singles, “Sleeper Agent,” “Unkind,” and “Machine.” Each has its own style and messaging within the central theme of “separation, rumination, regret, and recurrence.”
“Sleeper Agent” has recently been released, and true to Brodeur form, it contains a loveable twist of phrase, “A congress of cowards ruling over my id.” It’s crowded in there, and this is a very sad, soul-baring tune that will resonate with those at internal war with themselves and the world.
“Unkind” strikes me as a lyric amends. It is carried by beautiful music, with the strings carrying the melody to deliver the self-recriminating and heartbreaking lyrics. I think this could be produced as an instrumental and still have the impact of the whole song. I can hear the whole song playing behind a television series or movie, too!
“Machine” sounds like an ode to the Artificial Intelligence within all of us that won’t let us escape our good experiences and bad actions stored in our memories. The “routine inside” the mind allows for no victory, no mending, no escaping from the instant replays of the initial interaction. An internal terminator played on infinite loop. Bummer that there is no heart, nor soul, to save one. But wait! Spoiler!!!
My favorite is the last of the collection, “Go Free.” It visits one of Brodeur’s oft-employed themes, the sea, and has a lighter tone, melodious with a bright sentiment. The lyric sets free the object of his past desire and wishes “[them] all the good things in this life…to live all [their] days under sunlight.” You can’t help to wish that Brodeur will go live all his days under sunlight, too.
Available for pre-order and singles streaming at birdstreetsmusic.com