Devastatingly beautiful
Philip Giouras
14:00 11th August 2021

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Jade Bird’s self-titled debut record was a short and punchy taste of Bird’s unique combination of rock and folk. She existed in a zone not too dissimilar to Janis Joplin creating both Americana songs you could scream along to and country ballads you could cry to. It provided us with brilliant tracks such as ‘Lottery’ and ‘Love Has All Been Done Before’. So picture my surprise when, while getting acquainted with follow-up Different Kinds Of Light, I felt like I’d been reintroduced to a completely new artist.

Recorded in the iconic RCA studios in Nashville alongside producer Dave Cobb ironically steered Bird away from the traditional Americana sound to something much more organic. You can hear the sound of ‘90s Blur on the aptly titled in ‘1994’, Iggy Pop on the rollicking ‘Honeymoon’ and the full, rich sounds of instrumentation transforming Bird into Stevie Nicks on tracks such as ‘Punchline’. That’s not to say that unfiltered and iconic snarl that powered her debut is absent, it’s more fine-tuned and selectively deployed, meaning when it appears it has a greater effect such as on the explosive ‘Open Up The Heavens’ and the foot-stomping ‘Headstart’. 

One aspect of her writing and music that perhaps Bird doesn’t get enough credit for is her ability to craft a heartwrenching and introspective ballad. ‘Red White and Blue’ shows that when all the bells and whistles are stripped back, that just Bird alone with an acoustic guitar can be as devastatingly beautiful as any full-on rock belter. 

The record truly shines when all of these elements align, ‘Rely On’ takes you on a sonic sprawling journey, a common theme throughout the record is how together Bird and Cobb have left a lot of space in the sound for Bird’s voice to travel and occupy, you feel as if the track is literally moving you along with it. Lead single and record highlight ‘Now Is The Time’ is perhaps the best example of Bird’s evolution as an artist to date, highlighting her insightful and witty lyricism, “If I had a penny for all your potential, I’d be left drowning in my mouthful of metal” sings Bird scathingly over a bright, beautiful and expansive acoustic melody that paints pictures of long desert highway drives in your mind.

Different Kinds Of Light is screaming out to be played on a late summer drive, with the sun hanging low, windows down and a long stretch of road peaking out in front of you. Whilst Bird’s debut was genuinely thrilling, it’s exciting and refreshing to see an artist eager to explore their sound further and take risks - especially when they pay off like this one. 

Different Kinds Of Light is out now on Glassnote Music.

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Photo: Press