Love of Influence
Foo Fighters frontman and Birds of Satan drummer-frontman Taylor Hawkins must’ve had a blast recording the new supergroup on the block’s debut LP. The self-titled album is a smorgasbord of Hawkins & Co.’s influences and preferences; a joyous seven tracks of surprisingly poppy, slightly careening genres that mix and mingle with mostly smooth results. Opener “The Ballad of the Birds of Satan” goes down easy, a moody piece of epic guitar work and wailing vocals that’s not even close to a calling card for the band. By the time “Thanks for the Line” kicks into high gear, the metal tinges have been replaced by more of a Sammy Hagar vibe.
Despite the full force of their sound, the Birds of Satan are only a three piece, rounded out by fellow Chevy Metal members Mick Murphy and Wiley Hodgden. Hawkins’ diversity in musical projects is an often ignored piece of the percussionist primarily known for his role in Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl may have helped write a few tracks off The Birds of Satan, but Grohl plays a small part that fits just right. Those decrying originality need only remember that Chevy Metal is a cover band and give a listen to Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders’ two albums that came before this project.
The Birds of Satan is far and away a different product from Hawkins’ previous efforts. Meandering “Raspberries” starts off tender, then blasts into a chorus before returning to its arpeggiated guitars and Hawkins’ tender vocals. Not enough can be said for the guitar work of this album, either. Mick Murphy is a force to be reckoned with throughout the album; cascades of notes fired off with the highest precision and the utmost respect to the guitarists who came before him.
If anything, their debut album is a more a grown-up version of jamming out with your friends. It’s collaborative and, yes, tribute-like, but a fantastic primer for hopefully more material from the Birds of Satan.