Birds Of Chicago
Birds Of Chicago is a collective based upon the talents of JT Nero and Allison Russell. Combining their respective backgrounds of soulful rock (JT And The Clouds) and bluesy folk (Po’Girl) the duo have created a Southern-flavoured roots album (their second collaborative effort after working together on Nero’s 2010 record Mountains/Forests) that now gets a UK release. They prove to be a winning team: Russell’s vocals are delicate and ethereal (showcased perfectly on the sweetly mournful ‘Before She Goes’) while Nero brings a rasping touch of rock to the ‘The Wide Sea’, and the two together harmonise perfectly.
While their lyrics are always on the quirky side (not many artists tends to venture into the subject of tapeworms) they are not afraid to juxtapose dark storytelling with the cheeriest of hooks. They are at their most lively with the appropriately bouncy ‘Trampoline’ and irresistibly catchy ‘Cannonball’. The rest of the album is varied enough to keep your interest piqued; ‘Galaxy Ballroom’ is a gently swaying waltz, and ‘Sans Souci’ an upbeat Creole number. ‘Sugar Dumplin’ has a zippy accordion backing, along with the general atmosphere of a singalong around a campfire. Soulful and evocative, don’t be surprised if listening results in a sudden craving for sweet tea and a sunbaked front porch of your own.