Bristol has long enjoyed acclamations for hosting a bustling and thriving alternative music scene. Even amidst the agony of a global pandemic that has seen the live industry come to a sudden stop, hordes of artists across the region have used this downtime to hone their craft and take inspiration from dire times. However, whilst punk, metal and such may be dominating the scene right now, it’s vital to remember that the area was first brought to fame to by more electronic based artists. It was bands such as Portishead and Massive Attack that first put Bristol on the map of area’s of musical importance, a fact seemingly acknowledged by the utterly unique Poisonous Birds and something paid homage to on their new EP We Can Never Not Be All Of Us.
Sitting solemnly within a venn diagram composed of art-rock, post-rock and electronica, Poisonous Birds’ new EP see’s the outfit amalgamate the electronic roots of the scene with the cutting edge dynamism found currently. Opener ‘We Move, Plastic’ and proceeding single ‘Mood Stabiliser’ see’s the band loose themselves generating pacifying trip-hop beats and shimmering, grit speckled textures yet breathe organically despite their synthetic nature. It’s alluring, especially given the moody, almost Thom Yorke like, drawl of frontman Tom Ridley but an additional air of enigmatic mysticism is prevalent. Such an instinctive and emotive aura becomes tangible within the minimalistic ‘Warm Jets’, where previously stated comparisons with the ever enigmatic Sleep Token become clearly understandable.
‘True Colour’ see’s the band continue down the same aesthetic path with it’s calming and alluring beats, but ‘I was sat by the window and there was a bright and I was very sad’ see’s the band switch up the tempo and dive into frantic – yet composed and dignified – beats and glitching keys. This isn’t a dance party though, this is a stoic demonstration of how rapid electronica can be expressed in a more forlorn and sombre nature. There’s resemblance to Aphex Twin, Boards Of Canada and the more electric work of 65daysofstatic here, but with more DIY ingenuity and adolescent wistfulness.
The closer and title track is easily the most expansive and spreading track present within this EP, and unlike it’s peers on this record, carries a sense of resigned danceablity within it’s minimalist neon synth. However, to state this form of electronica is danceable would be a fallacy. Brilliantly vivid, illustrious and emotively cinematic, this a EP to lose oneself in. It’s a record that inspires the brain and offers a soundtrack to an inspired landscape of your own creation.
Many have stated over the past year or so that Poisonous Birds are a project that are unapologetically esoteric, something that can only be appreciated by a select order of people. However, We Can Never Not Be All Of Us disproves this. This is a release with massive crossover appeal, a record that can be savoured by all who their enjoy their music atmospheric, intellectually intriguing and visually enticing. Granted, those looking for the more chemical and hedonistic shade of electronica will have little to enjoy here, but for the rest of us, this is something highly delectable that hints towards further greatness ahead.
Poisonous Birds are set to tour with Phoxjaw next year, dates can be found below.