If bands were called up to represent the North of England, there would be few more worthy choices than The Wind-Up Birds. This Leeds-based acts have been assaulting Yorkshire ears since the mid-2000’s but their first album has only recently arrived. Yet will the longer format dilute their impact and vitriol?
There is an argument to say that The Wind-Up Birds wouldn’t have existed without The Arctic Monkeys but just as apparent is the punky sneer, working class pride and energy of The Jam. It’s all in the acerbic state of the nation address of opener ‘Good Shop Shuts’ and they aren’t afraid to tackle rascism for ‘There Won’t Always Be An England’ either but ‘Nostalgic For…’ is arguably the most heart-stopping moment. It debunks the whole idea of fondly looking back at the old days with horrific descriptions of mindless violence and casual abuse. It’s a song so harrowing one feels the need to stop and take a breather outside.
So the more addictive material is all the more welcome. To this end, as lyrically incisive as it is, ‘Being Dramatic’ is chiefly memorable for its supercharged guitars and rhythms. It’s somewhat unfortunate that the first half of the record is so powerful that the last few songs would inevitably feel like a polite retread of their acerbic stance. As such, ‘Tyre Fire’ come across a little jaded in comparison until its belated burst of aggression towards the end.
So after a slew of EPs, The Wind-Up Birds have made a good start to their album career. The top-heavy nature to ‘The Land’, however, means there is a bit too much emphasis on the calm after the early storm. Pleasingly, though, their lyrical message remains as cutting as ever and when they are at their best, their Northern brand of post-punk really catches fire.
The Jam, The Arctic Monkeys