Review - Morning Kills the Dark

Artist: Biirdie

Morning Kills the Dark
Label: Pop Up Records
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Morning Kills the Dark

From South Florida to Gainesville to Los Angeles, Jared Flamm's musical journey has been one of constant motion, if not constant progress. After forming the clunkily monikered Noah's Red Tattoo in Coral Springs in the early 1990s, Flamm relocated to Gainesville in '93 and corralled members of Bloom (Devin Moore, Jeff Lataille) to flesh out his band. Thanks to the popularity of NRT's full-bodied organic rock, Flamm became an integral part of that city's then-blossoming scene, collaborating (along with other members of NRT) on Laura Minor's debut album and, thanks to frequent touring, spreading the gospel of Gainesville.

When Noah's Red Tattoo finally called it a day in mid-2002, Flamm set off for L.A. There he hooked up with Richard Gowen (a fellow Floridian he had worked with before) and Kala Savage, and the three worked separately and together on what would become Morning Kills the Dark. Sessions took place in Daniel Lanois' home (Flamm was housesitting), as well as in houses on both coasts, various apartments and, occasionally, "real" studios.

The trio's dark, acoustic atmospherics are a far cry from the gut-punch rock Flamm was known for in Gainesville, but it's still very much his band. And the recording is blessed with enough casual interplay to make it seem like a group effort, even though it's clear that the 10 tracks are all built around Flamm's impressive songwriting abilities, and, to a not insignificant degree, his own confidence in those abilities. Some of the cuts, like "Hotel Piano" and "To Know That You Need Me," are positively transcendent, while others, like "California Is Waiting," are just too self-conscious for words. Tellingly, the more collaborative tracks – "Pacifica," "You've Got Darkness" – are the ones that really shine. If Biirdie truly is a band, and not just a fleshed-out solo project, inclusion of more joint efforts would do a lot to mitigate the fact that Flamm has returned to square one. Again.