Birthday Ass: Head of the Household (Ramp Local, 2021)

May 25, 2021 at 7:03 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Birthday Ass: Head of the Household

Brooklyn’s Birthday Ass play horn-heavy no wave which reminds me of Scissor Now! and Palberta, but with an expanded 6-person lineup. Priya Carlberg (the group’s leader, composer, and director) has an acrobatic vocal style, wailing and blurting out nonsense syllables as often as she sings more recognizable lyrics, and the band matches her style with angular arrangements, sometimes speeding up into a chaotic rush (“Jello”) or turning into atonal klezmer-sludge (“Spiced Twice”). “Buckle My Shoe” is a deconstructed nursery rhyme; it’s even interrupted by construction noises. “Malai, My Guy” is sort of close to hobbled dance-punk, and it continues to get progressively more rambunctious. “Broccoli Face” is manic scrunch-punk which gets pummelled with beats at the end. Finally, “K Helap” is a dramatic epic in which Priya gets swept away yowling that she can’t stand to be alive, then questioning if her life is a dream.

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