North Carolina's Bowerbirds open their newest album, Upper Air , with “House of Diamonds,” a low-tempo shiver—and the rest of the album hovers there. The band doesn't use large dynamic changes to capture a particular mood; Bowerbirds are at once wistful, doubtful and hopeful. It's a majestic post-coital swoon—laying with your thoughts, spent.
It's hard to imagine Bowerbirds as a band; people making music instead of the personification of a specific yet complex moment. And they paint it with such nuance it never gets boring. In “Silver Clouds” a gorgeous vocal melody stretches itself out over a spare back beat and warm guitar strums. And then there's “Ghost Life.” Singers Phil Moore and Beth Tacular build a soaring vocal harmony, but as it repeats it gets denser, blue notes are thrown in until it collapses without definition. Its like waking up in the middle of the night with the best idea, repeating it to yourself, it's such a good idea, but by the time you find a paper and pen you've woken up and your transcendent thought makes no sense.
If it seems like I'm rambling it's because Bowerbirds keep conjuring internal monologues. They become something so personal they are utterly immerse-ive. I keep finding myself putting them on as background music and forgetting what I was supposed to be doing. And that could be the most impressive part: Wisp-thick music that refuses to evaporate.
Bowerbirds play the Triple Door tonight.