[18 July 2013]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk is a Kansas-based band now operating out of New York City, and it appears that the group has moved to the East Coast in order to be metaphorically closer to their sonic brethren: Animal Collective. While the latter group has been described as the Beach Boys on acid, the aforementioned Animal Collective have been taking their cues from Pet Sounds largely. Baby Birds, on the other hand, go back farther, and reference the sound of earlier singles such as “California Girls”, particularly on their latest album (which is being released on cassette) Think Tone. The closing song, “Burt”, sounds particularly Brian Wilson-esque in vibe and soaring vocals. However, that’s not the only sonic that Baby Birds reference. The acoustic strum of opener “What Am I Doing With My Life?” recalls that of quiet Sebadoh in all of its lo-fi abandon.
All of this certainly makes Think Tone an intriguing listen, but an altogether not always successful one. “KGB” is six minutes of garish sounds, and “I’ve Been Thinking A Lot About the Universe” shape-shifts itself in and out of song throughout its punishing 10 minutes. That makes for a six song album that clocks in at 39 minutes a rather mixed affair. But when the band flying is in the air, so to speak, the melodies are lush and inviting, the vocals suitably slurry, and there’s something here to really latch on to. That makes Think Tone a varying success, but, hey, if you like latter day Animal Collective, there’s something here that you’ll clearly want to discover and Think Tone goes down a rabbit hole that’s worth investigating.