Birds Of Pray


Radioactive Records, 2003

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Yeah! Live has found its bearings again!

The band created a grunge icon with Throwing Copper, and then followed it up with the dismally spiritual Secret Samadhi. The members realized this mistake of theirs (thanks to some criticism from their avid fans), mended their ways -- or rather their 'style' of music -- and created one of the most fan-pleasing albums any band could release, The Distance To Here. The fans loved the album so much that Kowalczyk and crew took this love for granted and created a concoction of unforgivable tunes, noises and sounds, packaged them, and labeled the package V.

History repeated itself, and when irksome fans showed strong disapproval for another Live album, the band again decided to mend its sound and has come up with a very friendly Birds Of Pray; and we are happy again.

But did the band really disappoint us in the first place? Nah. Actually, the disappointment and the dismay should come from the other side. Live's phases, though not necessarily always embracing, are what have kept them alive as one of the few remaining talented hard-rock bands, now that most of their earlier comrades have conveniently decided to quit, and almost all of their newer associates sound no different from each other. Live's different transitions show the versatility of this great band.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Like every other Live album, Birds Of Pray finds the band dexterously adding another charming style to its ever-changing moods, but this time, unlike most of the other instances, they has decided to be much less deep (or anguished) and adventurous.

Birds Of Pray is the least complicated of all Live records and also the least profound of the group's catalogue. Apart from Kowalczyk's humbling and haunting voice, the album is driven by simplicity in its power-packed guitar-driven music. With 13 songs, and just below 45 minutes of playing time, Birds Of Pray is an album of singles. Every number is uncomplicated and is neatly adorned with a beautiful chorus.

Though Birds Of Pray is not one of their intricate albums, it has all the band's passions still intact, which is so inherent to its nature. This LP is a mixture of both Distance To Here and V, with a little of Distance's sensitivity and a pinch of V's machismo. "Heaven" could be Distance's "Dolphins Cry" and "Life Marches On" could be V's "Simple Creed." "Lighthouse," "Everytime I See Your Face" and "River Town" are any other Live album's punch-tracks, and Bird's finest.

Unlike other records by the band, Birds is relatively easy-going on the lyrics. This goes very well with the straightforwardness of the album: simple words like "I hope she lights that candle; I hope she gives me everything" on "Sweet Release" and "Everytime I see your face / It's like heaven opens up her gates" on "Everytime I See Your Face" say I love you in the simplest way. However, on the downside, the oversimplified becomes treacly on the subject of war on "What Are We Fighting For?," (sample lyrics: "The world got smaller but the bombs got bigger / Holocaust on a hairpin trigger."

Though Live has gone through a lot of unnecessary skepticism for the two previous albums from its fans, this one should be reasonably accepted. On Birds, Live is just a bunch of four guys making a rock album straight out of their jam sessions without any complications added. The band hasn't tried any stunts here -- or maybe paradoxically, this is what the stunt is!