A horrible hack

Month of Birthdays

Lost In The Translation

Year Released: 1999
Format: CD
Label: Subjugation
 
Reviewed by Andy Malcolm on Jun 13, 2007
Hands up, who expected Subjugation to put out a release better than Spy versus Spy within 12 months? Oh, and if you thought that record would be more SvS output, then put your hands down, we haven't had that yet, and based on a recent live performance, don't hold your breathe for it to emo-rock your world too much. OK, that should leave only the people who were super confident of Month of Birthdays coming up with an incredible masterpiece. And you're spot on, because that's exactly what you have.

This album, to put it short: is incredible. From the subtle, braille covered packaging and insert littered with graphs and equations (hmm, math rock?!), to the moody post-hardcore that lurks threateningly within, this is just the whole package. If there was any doubt before, this proves that MoB are one of the most unique, creative, and downright great bands we've got on these shores right now.

For much of the album, you've got blissful, mellowed, chilled-out tunes to play late at night and lose yourself in the beauty of. It's all very tidal. Small waves mind you. But every now and again you get caught up in a huge tsunami like "Of Chickens" which booms out whilst Cath gets all loud. For much of the rest of the time you get super-quiet, meandering songs with lots of repetetive guitar, softly-softly drumming and wandering vocals that soothe and ease you through the small hours if you happen to still be up. Don't turn the light on. "Anticipated and Intercepted" practically stops in the middle whilst four fifths of the band go off for a cup of tea leaving one person to strum a guitar with the volume on 1.

I guess they recorded some of the songs at lower levels than others intentionally, because this creates a totally wonderful effect of contrast. The quiet songs really are quiet unless you turn them up. Which would kind of defeat the object, as from time to time these quiet songs break into sweeping power without requiring your over attentive 'help'. Getting back to "Anticipated and Intercepted" again, that one totally unexpectedly introduces some lumbering hardcore chug-chug at one point after seemingly heading down the 'pretty' path for much of the song. Inspired! Also, you've got to love a song ("Mind Comes To Thoughts") which uses a sample of a BBC radio travel report and you can even hear cars buzzing past in the distance behind some truly lovely, gentle guitar. No singing until 5 minutes in too. Fucking yes, Month of Birthdays really know how to push my buttons.

It's tough for comparisons. Some of the really twinkly bits remind me of Rainer Maria, or sometimes the Van Pelt. Perhaps mixed with the moody tendencies and dynamics of Indian Summer? Bob Tilton maybe? But for the band's sound as a whole, you got me. Yikes, truly an original sounding record! I'm running scared. This release would create such a stir in the emo scene, if only it was an American band, and the genre wasn't so dominated by watered down college rock and bland indie bands. Yeah, I know, the ones I was listening to six months ago. Heh.

Shit, I just realised I wrote another review that'll take you as long to read as it will to listen to this record. In conclusion - 10 fucking amazing songs. 69:56 amazing fucking minutes. So make the time for the best album you'll have heard this year.

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