Shoegaze fanatics, take heed – the Parisian four-piece Man Is Not A Bird have returned with a new EP ‘Life and Levity’, released via Splendid on the 3rd of June. The EP is the follow-up to the band’s first full-length album ‘Survived the Great Flood’ which was released in 2015.
Listening to ‘Life and Levity’ is an emotionally purifying experience. Clearly, it takes a couple of leaves from the books of Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine and other bands of the sort, though Man Is Not A Bird manage to make the sleepy Shoegaze style their own, using it to anchor the bubbles of experimentation that keep your interest afloat.
It opens on a high note with the track that gave the EP its name. As the echo-y introduction chimes out, a feeling of intense calm disperses through you. An overriding sense of melancholia drapes over the song, despite its seemingly upbeat tempo. A nicely placed instrumental break offers an airy pause from the otherwise fast-paced instrumentation before bursting into a momentous final chorus, which features vocals that demand to be sang along to.
The tracks fade into each other like waves on a beach. ‘Rove’ is the second track to wash over us, and it sees the band branch out with a more visceral sound. Three minutes in, the distant vocals cut out and allow the backing instrumentation to dominate for the remaining two minutes and nineteen seconds. The guitars are given chance to breathe and experiment with their sound, which may seem a little over-zealous, but it isn’t at all tedious to listen to.
The transition from ‘Rove’ to the following track ‘Floating Blind’ nicely bridges together what would be a large leap in terms of sound and mood. The soft, spacey strums of the guitar at the start of the latter calm the EP right back down, reclaiming some of that airy, light-headedness found in the opening track. A short verse of haunting vocals is punctuated with a sudden burst of heavy instrumentation, giving the track a fuller sound. The remainder of this track sees a constant game of pass the parcel between the different dynamics.
The closing track ‘Haze’ summarises the EP nicely. It draws on the melancholia of ‘Life and Levity’, the instrumental experimentation of ‘Rove’ and the airy diversity of ‘Floating Blind’, making it the perfect way to bring this chapter of Man Is Not A Bird’s story to an end.
‘Life and Levity’ is out now via Splendid.