The Royal Violent Birds

Artist: Barry Brusseau

Produced by: Gorbie International Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            Portland, Oregon-based singer/songwriter Barry Brusseau spent twenty years performing anything from metal to hard punk, fifteen of which were spent on tour with the punk-pop band The Jimmies.  His first solo album, A Night Goes Through, a complete reversal from all he had done before in his music career, was released in 2010.  In October 2012, Brusseau followed up with his sophomore release, The Royal Violent Birds.

            I wanted to like this album after reading the artist’s bio.  Anyone who could believe in a project so much that he would be willing to save fifty dollars a week from his paycheck in order to record it in just the right location (Jackpot! Studios) with just the right musical engineer (Larry Crane) is a dreamer in a style after my own heart.  So, I listened to the album with great expectations…and then, I listened to it again…and then, after listening to reviews from other critics, I listened yet again.

            I was trying to find what others had found in The Royal Violent Birds.  Some critics believed it to be brilliant with soothing baritone vocals and amazing lyrics.  I wondered what album they were listening to exactly.  Then, I thought that it must be me, hence the extra times listening to the album in question. 

            Unfortunately, I kept coming to the same conclusion about the album…not worth listening to comes to mind.  The music is interesting.  I enjoyed the acoustic guitars, sometimes accompanied by a trumpet or the brushing of a snare skin.  But the vocals are, quite honestly, atrociously off-key.  So much so that it took away from listening to the lyrics, which I found to be interesting, but not as brilliant as other critics out there.

            It just goes to show that everyone has a different ear when it comes to music.  That being said, if you have a like-minded ear, you will definitely be avoiding The Royal Violent Birds by Barry Brusseau in search of a more brilliant sound.  Sometimes the artistic can just be a tad too artistic for taste. 


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