Retro Review: Futurebirds – Baba Yaga
can remember the first time I heard Futurebirds. It was 2014, I was driving through Ohio listening to Spotify radio that had taken over from a playlist I’d made. The first track of their sophomore album “Virginia Slims” came through the speakers of my Kia Soul, and I was immediately thrusted into this dreamy atmosphere that had psychedelic country woven into lyrics that just make you want to sing along. I distinctly remember saying out loud to myself in awe “What the fuck is this?”
I distinctly remember saying out loud to myself in awe “What the fuck is this?”
Little did I know, I would enter what is now almost a decade long fandom with this group of guys from Athens, Georgia. Attending shows multiple times a year, proudly sporting my merch on the regular, and recruiting fans everywhere I go. Needless to say, as Baba Yaga became one of my favorite records, subsequently Futurebirds became one of my favorite bands. And now I’m here to tell you why their 2013 release is worth the 1 hour and 6 minute listen.
What hangs over the entire record is a retro driven edge jumbled meticulously with a pretty yet eerie country ambience. As previously mentioned, the title track “Virginia Slims” draws you in and then sets the tone for what’s to come in the 12 songs that follow.
The album carries on an energetic and uptempo flow with the tune “Serial Bowls”. I bet listeners don’t even notice that there are hardly any lyrics. That being said, those lyrics are poignant and carry a melancholy narrative that continues throughout the record. Even so, from the moment you press play, you are put right in your kitchen dancing with your college roommates after a night out that you want to continue. It’s a fun one.
Skipping ahead to “Dig”, you are taken on a six and a half minute roller coaster type saga embodying the controlled chaos that is Futurebirds. Starting off at a moderate pace, and then completely changing directions halfway through to a lyrical anthem moment which you can’t help but scream “I turn the lights off now when I get home/I’m going to love you if it takes all goddamn night long.” giving you the feeling as though you are standing in the crowd. It then continues into a rock and roll breakdown followed by a calming exit, leaving you practically where you started.
One thing that Futurebirds is, is a band. Everyone contributes equally in the creative aspect and brings something distinctive to the table. Not all songs are written by the same member, or even sung by the same member. “Heavy Weights’ ‘ kicks off right out of the gate as the crooning of Daniel Womack aka Womz starts in second one. This song has a strong choral characteristic that signals for the listener to sway and help them get the message across by singing along.
HOW DOES IT HOLD UP?
I believe that fans new and old alike will always find solace in this record. To me, it’s the core of Futurebirds and everything that they are to me. Bands grow and change, but these songs remain near and dear to my heart and I will forever find myself coming back to it.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
If you ask me, Futurebirds is one of the most kind and hardest working bands in the industry. They tour their asses off, treat everyone like a best friend, and continue to release awesome tunes. Since the release of Baba Yaga in 2013, they’ve released 4 albums, a handful of singles and EP’s, played some of the biggest stages in the U.S., and remained themselves the entire time. These guys deserve every ounce of notability and success. Do yourself a favor, and when they come to your town, because they will, go to the show. It’s the best advice I can give.
If bands were football teams, they’d win the Super Bowl.