To a certain kind of dribbling weirdo (me) the term math-punk excites almost as much excitement and frantic thigh rubbing as ‘national free falafel day’; so it’s fair to say I played this EP expecting great things. If you’ve never come across ‘micro-genre’ of math-punk before don’t feel ignorant, there’s only one other band, NoMeansNo, that I know of that could be put in the same bracket; and unsurprisingly there is a certain element of older NMN’s in Painted Bird’s sound. They’ve spent a lot of effort get a particular crunchy, old-school vibe, but without losing clarity; in fact the entire back cover is a description of the recording techniques and it has a list of the instruments used. Definitely one for the music geeks.
However, it is never smart to play a record expecting it to blow your mind, the anticipation will always be better than the reality. But this is a great EP, the songs are interesting and catchy with barely a note or word wasted and with enough technical shenanigans and interesting chords to keep the greatest guitar stroking dweeb’s attention. However, tech stuff only works if the songs are good too and happily Painted Bird manage to write songs that are good for their own sake and not just technical-wankery.