Twee angst from a French-Icelandic duo manages to be just interesting enough to avoid saccharine over-indulgence.
There are two child-creatures, intelligences trapped inside bodies. They don’t know how to make contact with anybody in the world except one another. One day they’re discovered by a man named Shepherd. To the girl he says, “Your name is Lady,” and to the boy, “Your name is Bird, but you cannot fly.” Lady and Bird try to attract the attention of adult society by calling, “Help! Hello! We’re lost!” but no one can hear them so they jump off a bridge. This is the story of Lady & Bird, a concept album that came out of an ongoing collaboration between Bardi Johansson, of the Icelandic band Bang Gang, and the French singer Keren Ann Zeidel. The premise sounds like tweetybird teen angst when you write it down (Nobody understands me: I’m going to die), and yet the two characters with their grave, high voices are affecting creations. When Lady says plaintively, “Will you be nice to me, Bird?” you know your buttons are being pushed, but it’s not a bad feeling. They cover “Suicide is Painless” and the Velvet Underground’s “Stephanie Says”, along with a number of original songs that advance the story. Their music has the wandering quality of a fairytale.