Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music
cover art

Shipbuilding Co.

Radios and Flying Birds

(Greyday; US: 8 Feb 2011; UK: 8 Feb 2011)

The story is cute enough. Michael Partington, formerly of Chicago’s indie pop outfit Head of Femur, moved out to Taiwan in 2008 and equipped only with guitar, keyboard, microphone and laptop sought to make “the most organic and full-sounding record possible”. In fact this début, Radios and Flying Birds, stretches those elements almost to breaking point across a set of songs far too slight and inconsequential to justify his efforts. A certain twee charm is hardwired into the titles of songs like “You Tunguskaed My Heart” and “1918 Was Our Year”, but Partington lacks the wit and verve to back them up. Sounding DIY in all the wrong ways, the compositions are more often just feeble frames of plodding keys and electronics for Partington’s sleepy, fey voice. During a laughable spoken word exchange towards the end of “1939 World’s Fair” the game is well and truly up. There’s nothing to see here, and it’s time to move on. An instantly forgettable vanity project, this is a record best avoided.

Rating:

Andy Johnson began writing about music in earnest in 2008, when he became a staff writer for the UK alternative music site The Line of Best Fit and has written for PopMatters since 2010. He runs two blogs - one called Wordcore which links to new reviews, features, and blogs and one which seeks to cover every song recorded by Manic Street Preachers in chronological order. He has been also known to tweet.


Related Articles
26 Mar 2008
Chicago's vast baroque pop collective summons every instrument known to man in its fourth and best full-length album, working them jigsaw-like into complicated, colorful patterns.
21 Sep 2005
Head of Femur transforms from a power trio to an orchestra at the drop of a hat, making their music both sexier and more heartbreaking.
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.