[14 July 2011]
PopMatters PopLocal Features Editor
Sometimes the artist says it best. Check Futurebirds’s MySpace page and you’ll see the following genre bracket: “country/gospel/psychedelic”. That’s about as close as the printed word will come to epitomizing the Athens, GA band’s boozed-up, don’t-give-a-what brand of the down-home sing-along original. The two-chord verses and casually harmonized choruses of swinging numbers like “Red Top Girl” and “Breathe for Days” elicit drunken nods and incoherent shouting in equal measure. The group’s slacker, neo-country sound feels most at home on this debut eponymous EP, self-released in 2009 and now reissued by the band’s home label, Autumn Tone. Futurebirds sobered up a bit for the 2010 full-length, Hampton Lullaby, and levered its way into a 2011 Bonnaroo spot, but it’s Futurebirds, with its impenetrably shrouded lyrics and mercilessly jumbled mixing, that preserves the kernel of the band’s joyfully parochial spirit.