If you haven’t already noticed simply by turning on the radio, sociopolitical-themed music has been making quite the comeback in the last couple of years. No matter your affiliation, it’s easy to understand why international turmoil is yielding great melodies – it always has, historically – and though Major Spark’s new single “Birds Aren’t Real” isn’t quite as charged as some of its contemporaries are, it qualifies for the branding just the same. Major Spark unloads a ton of lyrical venom on us in this track, combining both punk-like rebelliousness with a sense of introspection and contemplation entirely foreign to most modern rock acts. His words are seething but his heart is in the right place here, and for my money, “Birds Aren’t Real” is one of the slicker songs of its kind right now.
The lyricism in this single and its music video aren’t the only source of anti-establishment energy in the material. Instrumentally speaking, there’s a post-punk element to the whipping volley between tempos that immediately grabbed my attention when I sat down to review “Birds Aren’t Real.” Though I’d stop short of saying that he’s trying to make a deliberate hybrid of styles here, Major Spark is certainly taking an experimental approach to his songwriting in this track that I hadn’t heard him employ before now. It’s anthemic and a little abrasive, but it’s something I’m dying to see him play with a bit more in the future – and, preferably, in the context of a full-length LP.
Along with the vocals, the drums carry a lot of sonic depth in this mix, adding to the emotional pull of the narrative here enormously. There’s not a lot of excess room behind the bassline for the percussion to breathe, but truth be told, I don’t think it needs the additional space. Major Spark’s voice already occupies a grand portion of “Birds Aren’t Real” both literally and artistically, and were it accented with any additional frills on the melodic end of the song, it wouldn’t be as forceful and hypnotic as it is in this instance. Some genuine thought and passion go into making this man’s work as brooding and spellbinding as it can be, and that’s clear to both connoisseurs and critical novices in this single.
Fierce but not as driven by potent force as it is poetic angst, Major Spark’s “Birds Aren’t Real” is a song that indie rock fans really can’t go wrong with this February. While times might be a little tougher right now than we would like, artists like Major Spark are keeping hope and vitality alive from inside the studio – and doing a great job, I should add, in their efforts to stoke society’s cohesive flame. “Birds Aren’t Real” is a rebel cry if I’ve ever heard one before, but the irony is that, while it was born of unavoidable divisiveness, I think it will bring people together more than it segregates them. Good music is something anyone can get into, and I believe this is precisely what we need now more than ever before.