By: Phil Makepeace

Fly on Byrd, Fly On | website | facebook | twitter |

Released on January 15, 2015 via Soundcloud

In 1926 Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd supposedly navigated the first ever flight over the North Pole. However, investigations undertaken since suggest that his plane actually turned back about 150 miles early. Fly On Byrd, Fly On, who take their name from this mysterious explorer, appear to have taken a leaf out of his book. Lost Lands promises a lot but never quite reaches where it might.

Opener ‘Thule’ is what would happen if my post-gym showers were soundtracked. The water running, the initial temperature test and then some furious shampooing and scrubbing. The end product is perfectly polished and you come away with a sense of a job well done, but there’s no euphoria. No – how can I put this? – ‘happy ending’.

Closer ‘Hyperborea’ is more like it, though I’m not convinced by the reliance on a sparse piano ostinato to pad out the heavy bits at the start. It’s just far too reminiscent of the Halloween theme. When a similar repeating phrase is introduced a minute later on guitar, it’s so, so much better. Fly On Byrd, Fly On are able to create deep and wholly eviscerating sequences, but only when they really throw the toolbox at it. And the tool shed too for good measure. The fourth minute of ‘Hyperborea’ is absolutely stunning; it’s a shame that it’s not possible to get so worked up about the other eleven minutes of Lost Lands.

Extended plays are funny little things. They can serve as a preview of what’s to come, or as a brief reminder that a band haven’t gone away; “Remember me!” as Macaulay Culkin poignantly said on that Aviva advert. In fact, another sentiment from those 59 seconds of Chemical Brothers-infused capitalism can be appropriated to this particular EP: “Just recognise me”.

The thing is, I definitely recognise Lost Lands, but it’s like someone you see every day on your morning commute. Familiar but not on speaking terms. Comfortable in the presence of, but not evocative of anything particular. It’s not impossible you’ll become friends one day, but it would require a spark. Fly On Byrd, Fly On have that spark in them; their previous output illustrated this, particularly ‘The City of New York’, which has Aaron Turner’s seductive musk all over it. On this occasion, however, I’m not quite ready to squeeze up against them in the dawn’s early light.

Pin It on Pinterest