Boomkat Product Review:
Seldom does a label with the history and stature of 4AD pick up on such a staunchly lo-fi, DIY-spawned album as this, but New Englander Merrill Garbus must have done something to impress. Alongside the output of that other recent 4AD acquisition, The Big Pink, this sounds bafflingly slight and unassuming, but look beyond the dictaphone aesthetics and perhaps there's a little more than initially meets the ear. Sure enough, the scrappy beats and hooky riffing of 'Sunlight' transcend the album's flatlining fidelity levels, and ebullient, soaring pop songs like 'Fiya' far transcend their humble beginnings. Elsewhere you'll encounter excitable tropical loops and bits and pieces that sound like an M.I.A. record being played back over a crackly telephone line. Despite the moments of near-brilliance, the willfully rundown, kitchen sink-ness of it all might well end up trying your patience. When Garbus makes such profound disclosures as: "All I had to eat today were three Doritos", this reviewer's heart sinks somewhat, and the album as a whole feels like its made from fragments of Lexie Mountain Boys, Micachu, or perhaps Cocorosie without the songwriting - or even Wavves without the word "goth" in every song title. Bird-Brains runs the risk of causing irritation at every turn, but you can't help but feel that begrudgingly (in fact, very begrudgingly), despite all that, there is something worthwhile buried in here.