Written by Craig Bowles, posted by blog admin
“Love Kills Slowly”, the opener to Black Bluebird’s Like Blood for Music, sets the emotional tone of the album from the outset. The Minneapolis trio isn’t really a power trio, in the strictest sense, since the core three piece is greatly enhanced by contributions from other musicians on Like Blood for Music, but “Love Kills Slowly” makes it clear the core three are the heart and soul of the band, without question. Guitarist Simon Husbands and drummer Chad Helmonds pack the band with a terrific amount of hard rock muscle and the jagged sheen from singer/lyricist Daniel Fiskum’s keyboards is the final key musical ingredient. There’s definitely a hint of the familiar surrounding these songs, but it’s never put forth in such a way that it smacks of cliché – instead, Black Bluebirds’ Like Blood for Music recasts familiar strands in new colors and it makes for a vivid listening experience.
The album has an ideal opener with the song “Love Kills Slowly” and Simon Husbands’ guitar work is a big reason for the song’s success without ever bearing down too heavily on the performance. Some listeners might need to adjust to Daniel Fiskum’s vocal sound, but Jessica Rasche’s near duet with him sweetens the sound thanks to the rich texture and tone of her voice. “Life in White” shows off the album’s first major stylistic shift with incorporating acoustic sounds into the band’s usual intense structure. Fiskum’s singing has a memorable grain to it, a near drone in some ways, but it comes off quite impassioned here while never going too far. “Battlehammer” implies that the band is going to bring a hard hitting stomp to bear and Black Bluebirds doesn’t disappoint, but there’s never any heavy handed reliance on the nonsense we hear from lesser bands.
“House of No More Dreams” comes off as definitely one of Like Blood for Music’s centerpieces and the care they’ve put into making it come alive is notable for even such a great overall release. “House of No More Dreams” comes off as definitely one of Like Blood for Music’s centerpieces and the care they’ve put into making it come alive is notable for even such a great overall release. Husbands and Helmonds do a great job imbuing the song with much of its musical drama, but the singers aren’t too shabby either.
“Soul of Wood” is one of the album’s best uptempo numbers as it hits a sweet spot between Husbands’ guitar work and Fiiskum’s oddly ominous keyboard playing working in accompaniment. Helmonds’ drumming is equally crucial to bringing this one off and his pushing, straight ahead attack enhances the song immeasurably. “My Eyes Were Closed” expands on the potential I hear in the earlier “House of No More Dreams” in a gripping way. The song really is an even longer reach than the aforementioned tune and Husbands’ contributes some potent, chaotic lead work. Like Blood for Music is an effort that will be difficult for Black Bluebirds to follow up on, but the quality is such I have confidence there are even brighter days ahead.