Belgian Alternative Rockers Creature with the Atom Brain have released their third full length studio album entitled The Birds Fly Low and we here at The Black Flag have been dripping it gently into our ears and taking in the ambience (that’s a posh word for atmosphere don’t you know).
Atmosphere is definitely the right word for this album, it’s deep and dark, like a watery cave somewhere filled with goblins and all that other kind of magical stuff. There is a sense of placement with this music, of being led down a dark path in a woodland, it’s not eery or scary, it’s just interesting, like you are drawn into it helplessly, and isn’t that what all good albums should be like? It’s the same as when you watch a horror film and you are shouting at the screen to the beautiful, blonde, overtly stupid girl walking into the dark haunted house, STOP! but she keeps going. Well she was probably listening to this and needed to know where it was going, or what was happening.
The album is stripped, and when I say stripped I mean that when you listen to it through a decent pair of headphones you can almost imagine sitting in the studio with the band. There’s no tweaking here or added wooo’s and aaaaah’s, it is what it is, just the guys playing.
The album overall has quite a 60’s psychedelic feel to it, the kind of music they always play in the background of tripping scenes during dramas where kids are taking LSD, it’s chilled and melodic with a surprisingly varied musical range. The singing is low and deep, dropping at times into Peter Steele (Type O Negative) territory, for example on Slide, or at other times jumping into a Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots) growl, like in opening track Hit the Sky. The range is good, always fitting the track nicely and never becoming more than the song needs, as is so often the case in bands of this nature.
It’s hard to pick out a favourite track, they’re all really good in their own way, and all go together nicely to form an album that is overall very well constructed. If I was in thumb screws and they were holding my children ransom, I’d probably pick Black Rider Run or even the title track The Birds Fly Low and that would most likely be because they stand out on the album lyrically, and as a writer, that is where my interest is most poised. A bassist by trade might enjoy the thick, chugging bass lines, or the guitarist may empathise with the clever riffs, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.
Enjoy this album in a darkened room on your favourite music storage device, cranked through a set of good quality ear phones. Close your eyes, enjoy a cigar (not that we encourage smoking here at The Black Flag) sip a scotch (or drinking) and let yourself be drawn into the mad journey that is Creature with the Atom Brain. Lets face it, with a name like that, they were always bound to be pretty good and seeing as they’ve shared stage time with heavy-hitting rock monsters Alice in Chains, Jesus and Mary Chain and Queens of the Stone Age, it’s obvious we’re not the only ones who think so.