RADIO BIRDMAN: Zeno Beach: CD

This is not a great album, but, then again, neither was Living Eyes nor Radios Appear, so it appears the band is in classic form (but better recorded). I dunno. I understand that Radio Birdman and their Burn My Eye EP contributed monstrously to the initial whumpus of Aussie punk/rock, but i have become progressively more baffled at the snowballing adoration directed towards this band as time marches by. I mean, sure, “New Race” was great, and “Do The Pop” was keen, and so on and so forth, but for every quasi-ace tune on their first album (at least my copy), there was some heinous drudge like “Man With Golden Helmet” or “Descent Into The Maelstrom,” occasionally interspersed with some manner of inexplicable (though not unwelcome) goofery like “Aloha Steve and Danno”—i just don’t GET what was/is so effin’ GREAT about them. I always found the voice of the Head Birdman to be subtly grating, many of the songs to have this kinda nowhere-esque sludgely aspect to them, the guitars to merely chip away at my eardrums when they should have delivered a right pummeling, and, dude, those are pretty much the squarest sounding keyboards this side of Michael Bolton—so why exactly their temple should be so chock-full of worshippers i cannot rightly say. That said, they have their moments—though why the band’s better songs so often involve some manner of beach motif merely adds to my general consternation. Don’t get me wrong, i do not dislike the band per se, but if some genie in a kangaroo-shaped bottle ever gave me the chance to go back in time and swap out the Scientists Pissed On Another Planet album for the cut-out copy of Radios Appear i used to listen to sophomore year of high school, i’d do it with no questions asked (other than the obvious question of whether Pissed On Another Planet came out on vinyl, and, if not, how would i play a CD in 1980?). BEST SONG: “Zeno Beach” BEST SONG TITLE: Oh, hell, “Zeno Beach” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Way back when, the newspaper i used to work for did this very short-lived TV show called JAM TV where we would essentially tape local schmucks performing at open mic nights. I was charged with making the poster for it, so i put the front guy on the Radios Appear cover on the poster…but my boss didn’t like it and wanted something “more normal,” so i used Cyril Jordan from the Flamin’ Groovies’ Teenage Head album cover instead. Well, lo and behold, i just found out that Radio Birdman and the Flamin’ Groovies toured Australia together! Yeah hup!

 –norb (Yep Roc)