Travis Bird, "Bourgeois Treats" CD
Americana is as much an attitude as it is tradition. Travis Bird’s americana constantly turns corners from modest folkways to jazz overtones, creating chiming, layered pop on his debut, Bourgeois Treats. Embracing churning tension with the ease of a traveler at home wherever rest finds him, Bird’s america is not rushed, not rusted. But not easy. It reflects that surprising quiet of clear, cold Chicago mornings, as well as the unpredictable humidity of overgrown New Orleans ruins. Between these two homes, Bird situates his vision, reflecting every step from one to the other.
How do you express animosity within the friendly confines of common expectations? This radical America hides in plain sight, passed by everyday expectations around each corner. With those corners within tradition, the attitude comes with the way one turns them. Bird turns them with a patient hand and sharp vision. The cutting, burning pop of "Julica" and "Both Ways" exemplify the urgency of that vision, while "Wind Blow Your Memory Away" and "Summer of Your Discontent" collapse that vitriol into graceful melodies. Between these boundaries, Bird fills "Honey and Heat" and "Withdrawal" with an easy, churning shuffle that wipes away the sweat. Yet, "Cycle of Love and Release" pushes those dramatic flourishes like a rumbling "L" train piercing that crystal clear cold.
For reference, Bird's America hints at the layered compositions of Television, extending guitar rock tropes. It glazes over with the disquieted comfort of Neil Young's delivery, or the surprising suspense of The Band. Fans of mindful, direct pop songwriting, and the diverse attitudes of American rock that aren't quite punk, Southern, jazz, or folk, will enjoy Bird's unique performances. Previously a member of numerous experimental collaborations as a multi-instrumentalist in Chicago, Bird steps to the fore to deliver his first solo effort.