Baron Von Birdbath
Tales From the Birdbath (Empty Records)
By: Alex Steininger
After nearly eight years with Sicko, Ean Hernandez has gone solo. Well, not completely solo, because on Tales From the Birdbath Ean calls upon ten friends to help on everything from the recording process to playing on the record. And the outcome is a fun, exciting pop record that is sugary and sunny, leaving the clouds and rainy skies of Seattle behind for a utopian society -- if only through music.
The punk rock capitol of Washington is quickly paid tribute to with "Olympia." A bouncy pop beat quickly grabs a hold of you right from the get go, and from there you're hooked. Ean draws you in with his happy-go-lucky beats and solid rock rhythms. The guitar charges forward, while the organ buzzes in the song and warms it up that much more. Lyrics like "Go downtown see a pet parade/Go to a college where you don't get grades" and "tonight the Melvins and Courtney Love/At the North Shore Surf Club/In Olympia" jump around in your head like excited kids that can't sit still in the back of the car. Pop music bliss without losing a beat, Ean cranks out a quick pop ditty and suddenly has a smile on your face.
"Scooter Boy" is yet another blissful pop tune sure to brighten up your day. A tale of a super-hero 'scooter boy' who always comes to the rescue while "all the cops are eating donuts across the town," Ean has you eating out of the palms of his hands while he cranks out the super poppy beats that will have you bouncing and running around on a mega-sugar buzz.
"The Attack of the Atomic Super Monkeys" just keeps the good times coming. Ean has a knack for writing tight pop hooks that will keep you boppin' around in joy even if you're dead, as well as an ability to make you fall to the floor laughing hilariously while he spices up your life with some much needed humor.
Then on "Snowcone," Ean shows just how cool he is and writes an anthem for the sugar-craving, ice-treat lovin', must have treat of the summer. I mean, who doesn't like a snowcone? They're so delicious. I think I like shaved ice's better, but hey, you can't get a decent one (let alone a bad one...) in Portland, so I've been living off of snowcones for years, and it's great to finally realize someone else out there loves them as much as me.
Taking on a bit more serious topic, "Record Review" addresses an artist reading an unkind review of his or her work and trying to deal with it. "The singer dreamed he was in a play/The critic was the hero and the singer was the maid/For his big line, the maid forgot the words/So the hero improvised..." concludes the song with hope and optimism as the artist shakes the review and keeps on dreaming.
Finishing off with "Do You Recall?," the disc closes out with a soft, relaxing number that still has the pop drive and sweet flavor of the rest of the songs, but isn't as hyper or jumpy as the rest.
With a disc that is equal parts pop and humor, with some semi-serious material thrown in, Ean hits the jackpot with a solid, well-rounded record sure to be the anthem of summer. Kick back, get a drink, and blast this record while the sun is shining. I'll give this record an A+.