The Essential Radio Birdman: 1974-1978. The band’s influence on a generation of Australian artists following in their footsteps cannot be understated, however, with every Oz band of note over the past 20 years – Celibate Rifles, the Screaming Tribesmen, Hoodoo Gurus, and many others – tapping into the Birdman spirit in one form or another.
While the prospects of a Radio Birdman reunion at this late date seemed a bit spotty, Zeno Beach, the album resulting from the reassembled band, is much better than it has any right to be. Recruiting original Birdman shouter Rob Younger – an ingredient essential to any successful reinvention of the band – and calling up mates Chris Masuak and Pip Hoyle, Deniz Tek managed to assemble two-thirds of the original Birdman lineup, adding a couple of new friends to the mix. The chemistry of the newfound band is incredible, adding a fresh layer of grime and grunge to the band’s classic high-flying punk roots.
Detroit-born Tek’s fascinations with the Stooges and the MC5 can still be heard in the songs, but they don’t dominate the proceedings as they once did. Younger’s amazing vocal range – he sounds like Robert Smith of the Cure one moment, like Iggy after a three-day binge the next – is supported by the dueling guitars of Tek and Masuak and a solid rhythm section. The result is a classic, timeless rock ’n’ roll album, bristling with energy and attitude and driven by screaming guitars that channel four decades of garage-bred roots into 45 minutes of near-perfect Marshall flash. (Yep Roc Records, released August 22, 2006)
Also on That Devil Music: Radio Birdman’s The Essential Radio Birdman CD review
Buy the CD from Amazon: Radio Birdman’s Zeno Beach
Review originally published by Alt.Culture.Guide™, 2006