Review: The Birds Of Satan – The Birds Of Satan Album

April 17, 2014 3:05 pm

Birds Of Satan Album CoverIt’s hard to know how to take Birds Of Satan. It’s the side-project (sort of) of Foo Fighters sticksman Taylor Hawkins, and as such there’s always going to be the fear of “oh no, this is just going to be a shoddy Foo Fighters soundalike isn’t it?”. This probably isn’t helped by the fact that several other Foos feature on the self-titled debut album, or that it was all recorded in under a week.

But Hawkins surprises us with The Birds Of Satan. While there definitely are shades of Foo Fighters on the album, there are enough slight differences to make this a good rock release in it’s own right. From the Californian progressive-rock clammer of opening track ‘The Ballad Of The Birds Of Satan’, it’s clear that Hawkins is keen to highlight the difference between the bands.

However, the rest of the record doesn’t quite emphasise the difference in the same way. ‘Pieces Of The Puzzle’ sounds right out of Wasting Light, and final track ‘Too Far Gone To See’ sounds like a strange mix of Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On’ and Foo Fighters’ ‘I Should Have Known’.

In many ways, this is the Foos release that never was. It’s easy to imagine these songs with Grohl taking over vocal duties, but there are certain areas which you feel would never get done on a Foo Fighters record. The pre-solo on first single ‘Thanks For The Line’, for example, is a complete musical shift of Kanye West proportions – abruptly swapping the gritty guitar riffery for just vocals and piano with the occasional plodding bass.

And this is what makes the record special in it’s own right. There are places this record goes that the Foos never would, and it’s interesting to see where Hawkins explores when heading his own project (we’ll overlook The Coattail Riders, they were a bit too classic rock). If this is a sign of things to come from the Foos, we should all be excited. If not, then let’s hope Hawkins keeps The Birds Of Satan in his mind.

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