Grandfather Birds – The Woods

It’s on the tip of my tongue. Y’know… the name of that band who sound like that other band. No, not that one. The other one. Yeah, and those. Them too. And them. Erm…

It’s not easy comparing Grandfather Birds to any one band. Or even any ten bands for that matter. Ask them and they’ll namedrop Grizzly Bear, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Yeasayer, Portishead and Tricky. While I don’t disagree, I think I can add a few more to that list. When I listen to their new self-produced track The Woods, somewhere in the back of my mind I also hear The Telescopes spinning Chapterhouse 12 inchers at a Sunday night disco in a working men’s club where Nick McCabe is the landlord, the entire lineup of Broken Social Scene work behind the bar, and The House of Love are throwing some serious misshapes on the dancefloor.

And none of that is a bad thing. Trust me.

Distinctively northern, and instinctively alternative, Grandfather Birds have produced a corker here that takes the current mainstream flowing out of the North East and turns it a complete 180. Musically, it sparkles, it shimmers, and it shines, almost reminiscent of the heady heights of the shoegazing years. While vocally, there’s a maturity, a freshness, and a sense of authority that really makes this track a stand out. Oh, and there’s absolutely no escaping the fact that the band hail from the better half of the north-south divide.

Opening with a hypnotic chord that touches on psychedelia before tantalisingly progressing to swirling guitars layered over a driven and unstoppable rhythm, The Woods relentlessly draws you into a lush soundscape that takes you right back to the pinnacle of 1992 and paints the future of indie prog rock – all at the same time.

So, when Matt comes in with “I don’t want to go into the woods any more”, I just don’t get it. If it really does sound like this in the woods, then I’m off to pack my camping stove and my bivvy bag, because I’m moving in tomorrow.

The Woods is due to be released on the 17th May, and the band have highly recommended gigs coming up in London, Glasgow, Sunderland, & Newcastle. You can listen to the track and find out more at

By Barry Bell on May 3, 2010

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