Declan De Barra
Song Of A Thousand Birds

Well here’s a release that I was not sure I should review, considering this is a metal site, but I also remember that a lot of metal fans are Clann Zu fans, so this solo project from Clann Zu’s Irish half, Declan De Barra, might be of interest. Plus it’s technically on a metal label, right?

While not metal, De Barra imbues a lot of metal’s softer and acoustic elements on this solo work, as Song of a Thousand Birds is a collection of 11 sombre, alt rock, folkish ballads that will remind some of Beirut or Smog and maybe Sigor Ros and Radiohead, but with a typically depressing Irish flair. It’s gentle, introspective and melancholy, but also beautifully engaging-much like Clann Zu-in fact this album reminds a lot of the softer, more balladic moments of Rua.

The album never rises above a gentle hum and croon as De Barra’s brogue voice is delicate yet filled with a sense of deep loss and regret, while still being hauntingly foreign. Only “Welcome” comes across as even remotely happy or upbeat as the music of De Barra is stark and minimalist form of light percussion and gentle acoustics with the occasional string or piano backing. The tracks are all sobering, evocative and solemn with the trio of “Slow Dissolve”, “Throw Your Arms Around Me” and the hypnotic fire side ballad “Leaves In the Autumn” being the albums mid point strength.

Song of a Thousand Birds is only for niche fans and fans of Clann Zu as it purely headphone or background music than will leave you feeling pretty despondent when its over, but its still a rich and deeply personal listen.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
November 8th, 2007

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