Silent Kids – Dinosaurs Turn into Birds

Silent Kids - Dinosaurs Turn into Birds

Silent Kids - Dinosaurs Turn into Birds

Silent Kids: offering a kind bridge between Atlanta and Athens.

The first thing you’ll notice about the band and their third release, Dinosaurs Turn into Birds, aside from what I’d wager is a Pavement-inspired name, is a notable Elephant 6 influence, particularly from psychedelic pop purveyors Apples in Stereo and Elf Power. Silent Kids traffic in the same type of psyche-lite prettiness, often with the corresponding charming brand of whimsy and affection. But, before turning an eye to the particulars of the album, how did the Kids get to where they are now?

They debuted with the self-released, now out-of-print Radio Beams in 2001. Tomorrow Waits, on Two Sheds (as is this record) in 2003, followed Beams and continued the band’s lo-fi exploration. Five years separate Tomorrow and Dinosaurs, along with a plethora of line-up changes – a new drummer, three bassists come-and-gone, members spinning off into solo and side projects – and here we are. Though they haven’t ditched the spirit that fuels lo-fi recordings, things have gotten much more polished, with Dinosaurs sounding cleaner, larger, and altogether more professional than its predecessors.

Song title “Teenage Symphonies” lets you know how to pattern these tunes to your own listening experiences. Think back to hours spent alone with Superchunk and Archers of Loaf LPs and their rousing, guitar-driven effects. Hooks, hooks, hooks! Some nestled in fuzz (“The Marble Faun”), some on the wings of intoxicating vocal melodies (“Stars and Rust”), all bundled in easily-digested, two-, three-, or four-minute packages. “The Hissing of the Summer Grass” is sentimentality condensed: “Southern birds will sing / But I won’t hear a single thing / Except my heart.” A cover of Gram Parsons’s “One Hundred Years from Now” fits well without sounding hokey or contrived. The album name may evoke the slow-motion processes of evolution, but, within, it’s all about delivering substance with immediacy.

Really, though, you can’t not expect fun from a group that gives thanks to, in the liner notes, “the drum fill in Sonic Youth’s ‘Pipeline,” “the scream at the beginning of the Stooge’s ‘T.V. Eye,'” and “dogs, bicycles, and glaciers.” They’re as worthy of your time as any of the bands they’ve caught inspiration from.