Birds & Batteries | I’ll Never Sleep Again (s/r)

cd_birds.jpgTheir sound? That’s a tough one. Think alt-country-meets-indie-fuzz-synth.







If you’re going to begin your CD with a cover, it had better be completely freaking brilliant. Too bad composer/songwriter Mike Sempert of the Bay Area’s Birds & Batteries chose a ho-hum rendition of Neil Young’s "Heart of Gold" as the introduction to the self-released I’ll Never Sleep Again. After that tiresome dirge, I almost never listened again. Which would have been a shame, because the rest of the CD is a grand, sweeping electronica-licious dreamscape, featuring Sempert on guitar and vocals.

He’s joined by Brian Michelson on drums, laptop and vocals, Jill Heinke on bass and vocals, and Julie Thomasson on Rhodes, synthesizers and vocals. Their sound? That’s a tough one. Think alt-country-meets-indie-fuzz-synth. And definitely try this—skip to track two and begin your Birds & Batteries experience with the sparkling instrumental "Jungles (Oceans)." Then sit back and let "I’ll Never Sleep Again" cloak you in a wave of ’70s studio rock nostalgia.

My absolute favorite track is the dance floor-ready "After a Flood." I’m chair-dancing right now, just listening to it. I can’t really give Birds & Batteries an "A" because of that abysmal Young cover. But I’m tempted to, just the same. B+ | Rebecca Reardon

RIYL: The Magnetic Fields, Hot Chip, Marjorie Fair

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