Filthybird’s sophomore full-length, Songs For Other People, is often gentle with a leisurely pace, but it doesn’t lull the listener to sleep. Subtle dissonances and syncopated rhythms keep tension throughout and ears attentive.
There are familiar feelings all throughout the entire album, but they’re ever so slightly tweaked. The band walks a line between comforting and uneasy sounds and it does so brilliantly.
Aiding in this balance is Renee Mendoza’s hypnotizing vocals. She accentuates the twang in her voice frequently, but she’s also able to rein it in when appropriate like on “Stephen Dedalus.” On the next song, “Leaving Trail,” Mendoza shows yet another side of her voice with a unique falsetto.
At times it feels like the tension might never end, but Filthybird rewards the listener often enough with satisfying resolves. The transition from “Leaving Trail” to the first chorus of “Pick Me Up” in particular comes to mind.
While there aren’t many single lyrics that stand out, taken all together they make for interesting tunes. For example on “Portraits,” Mendoza makes a wish list of traits and knowledge she’d like to have if she could be reborn. Realizing she can’t be, she then wishes these things for her children.
The album ends with an acoustic version of “Portraits” on a hidden track. As the last whistle fades out, it’s clear that this is not only one of the best albums of the year locally, it’s one of the best anywhere.
Songs For Other People releases October 19 on Holidays for Quince Records. You can catch Filthybird with Mount Moriah and Old Bricks for free at Tir Na Nog October 21 as part of WKNC’s Local Beer-Local Band.