A Lot Like Birds are beginning a fresh chapter with their new album, DIVISI, out now via Equal Vision Records.
Having been unfamiliar with A Lot Like Birds’ music, a friend suggested I listen to their single, “For Shelley (Unheard).” I was entranced and ready for more. I missed hearing the other singles before the full record was released, but I think it was better that way. As I began with “Always Burning, Always Dark,” it was quickly apparent that this is what I refer to as a ‘scenery album.’ DIVISI is a transcending experience, and takes the mind beyond the walls that you may be surrounded by as you listen. Other albums that have this effect include dear me by OWEL, Ixora by Copeland, and various releases by Foxing and From Indian Lakes. It was truly no surprise to see almost all of these artists on A Lot Like Birds’ inspiration playlist for this album, and hear Conor Murphy, the vocalist of Foxing, sing at the beginning of “Trace The Lines.”
After several listens to DIVISI I decided to sample some of the band’s previous work, so that way I could understand what this dramatic change in sound I’ve heard of is all about. I was shocked at the difference in sound. It’s hard to believe that the same band who wrote the enchanting and experimental DIVISI, also wrote very sonically heavy albums. I love when artists take the risk of completely changing their sound because it removes the genre boxes they’re placed into, and allows the music to speak for itself.
Rather than the energetic build-ups leading to aggressive vocals, A Lot Like Birds’, now lead vocalist, Cory Lockwood, is singing for the first time. There’s only a few times that distant shouts can be heard in the background, reminiscent of the band’s roots. When they released “For Shelley (Unheard),” Lockwood wrote about the inspiration and influence he took from his mother after she passed away last year. She loved his singing voice, and wanted to hear it more. Lockwood took life’s challenges and tragedies to begin using his voice to its full and beautiful potential which started shaping the new direction of ALLB’s massive sound. The simplicity, openness and overall more accessible sound make DIVISI an album that anyone who likes alternative music could very much enjoy.
Although I believe this to be true for all records, DIVISI is best when appreciated front-to-back, as to not lose the value in the carefully crafted tracklisting. When listening to Lockwood’s interview on the Inside Music Podcast, I learned that the band hopes a lot of people hear the album for their first time by seeing it live on ALLB’s current headlining tour. They’re playing it in full, and it’s definitely fitting for this new sound. ‘Scenery albums’ tend to create an overall mood or feeling for listeners that can change depending on one’s surroundings. DIVISI created one of longing on my first listen. Hearing this record live will allow fans to be fully encompassed in the sounds and emotions that ALLB are offering in this new, melodic chapter in their music.
Whether you hear DIVISI live for your first time, or listen to the recordings, it will demand your undivided track from beginning to end.
Find tour dates at bandsintown.com/alotlikebirds!