I have to admit that 2Birds Band’s latest release String Groover is not the type of record I ever thought I’d be reviewing in 2018. Not because I’m doubting the kids’ love for classical music in the age of nostalgia (really, I’m not), but because, save for one key part in particular (we’ll get to it), this record is decidedly unmodern.
There isn’t a single hint of electronic tomfoolery to be found; obviously, the stars of the show are the two violins and the cello, but the rhythm section is also absolutely dazzling. You won’t hear any trap hi-hat, no four-on-the-floor pumping, no watery melancholy awash in reverb. This is a record by musicians, for musicians, almost in deliberate defiance of any modern scene.
It begins, as any contemporary classical release is wont to do, with “Amen Corner” acting as an overture that provides a number of references to compositions bygone, not the least of which being the triumphant refrain of “Rule Britannia,” all while showcasing a versatility that incorporates everything from country twang to jazz fusion into the mix. The boys proudly proclaim their admiration for the likes of Bach, Debussy and Bethoveen on their Bandcamp page, and the influences are fairly evident.
The one moment that threatens to ruin the magic of it all comes after the Mediterranean-flavored opening of “Pompeii” where the only inclusion of vocals serves to sing of smoking a spliff and being high in the clouds. I’m not complaining about the sentiment, simply noting that this small passage seems so rudimentary, in stark contrast to the elegance of the rest of the record.It doesn’t help that there isn’t anything within the vocal delivery that could be remotely considered as technique or flair.
Apart from that, this is an engaging and creative outing, sure to please any and all fans of, well, anything that’s not on the radio right now. Bonus: you’ll love how the strings mimic an actual laugh at the end of “Le Joker.”
Written by Syd Ghan
*edited by Kate Erickson