Bird & The War has released two singles that solidify their place at the forefront of modern ambient shoegaze. “Stay” and “Somebody” are both lush and sparse, with ominously minimalist vocals swimming in a wall of instrumentation. The tracks offer a poignant glimpse into the trio’s first proper full-length, Rhetoric, to be released November 19.
“Stay” is an emotionally charged plea to a lover, drenched in delayed guitars and backwards tape guitar lines. The album’s first single, it features heavily delayed vocals by singer Chris James, whose quick and almost percussive styling is atmospherically offset by the softness of his voice and ensuing effects. The 3 minute 25 second track comes on as quickly as it fades.
Similar in moody appeal, “Somebody” starts out with surreptitious keys and a ghostly guitar line. James maintains his intensely hushed vocal delivery, until the song diverges with a sudden dynamic shift of the almost tremolo guitars. At the three-and-a-half minute mark, autotuned vocals in a lower register break open into a textured, Frank Ocean-esque display.
Bird & The War takes a very unique approach to their genre, trading Bon Iver-like contemporary status to focus a heavier hand on atmosphere. There’s a sort of backlit intimacy to these songs, which is exactly what we should expect from the SoCal threesome. We can assuredly count on Rhetoric to be an emotional first full-length release, beholden to sunsets, twilight and the ensuing night.
“Stay” and “Somebody” are available on the band’s website.