Album Review – Gusty by Birdspotter (2020) (Z Tapes)
Filip Zemčík and his Slovakia based Z Tapes label are in fine form at present, with brilliant recent releases from notable acts like Wake In June, Swim Camp, Foliageand Billow all ensuring the label remains firmly among the cassette label elite.
This release from Philadelphia based threesome, Birdspotter, is not only a departure from the shared aesthetic of the abovementioned jangly, gaze inflected acts, but also has the potential to see the band become the label’s showcase act.
Essentially, the initial impression of the release is simply one of multi-faceted beauty. Tracks such as the opening duo of Peaceful Man and Water are joined by Return and 2am Music, to offer a juxtaposition between the wonderful crystalline, jangly clarity of an act like Night Heron and the remote 60s melodies / harmonies of early era Simon and Garfunkel. To this sound they add the modernity of placing one foot towards in laconic ‘chill’ type waters, without ever threatening to take that final plunge. It’s all gorgeous in a slightly of twee sense of the word.
The remainder of the release may never transcend such beauty but it definitely gets ‘cooler’ (if such a word can still be used by ‘indie kids’). You Can Smile Again and Dispatch From Last Year With Seasons are instumentals with the all manner of atmospheric chiming jangle coursing through their core and Grateful Disaster and Long Season represent the very reason why it is always worth keeping an eye on what jangly lo-fi rock, is coming out of the bedroom studios of a million ‘artistes’.
With recent dedicated excursions into the Central and South American markets, at some point Z Tapes will probably declare world domination, ban vinyl / CD’s and force anything with a potential aural emission to be placed onto an audio cassette. If this album is indicative, who could argue against them?