A Lot Like Birds has outdone itself. The six-piece outfit from Sacramento, Calif., released its third album, No Place, Oct. 29. This is a concept album that centers on a house and the idea of home.
No Place takes you on an exciting, dark and emotionally tolling tour through the rooms of a house. Since its conception in 2009, the band has quickly garnered attention and popularity because of the way it intertwines remarkable instrumentals with deep, poetic lyrics that are performed so well by the two vocalists, Kurt Travis and Cory Lockwood.
No Place accomplishes this and more with its intense focus that shows how much work the members put into its construction. It’s now clear why we waited two years since Conversation Piece for a new album.
Lockwood, the main lyricist, has always been an agile and brilliant writer for the band, but No Place is even more captivating because it boasts some of the most relatable lyrics yet. But the lyrics become more meaningful because they’re complemented by the instrumentals that are meticulously crafted to tell a story themselves. Together these elements shape the gripping songs of No Place.
The single of the album, “Kuroi Ledge,” is tragic and intriguing — a perfect representation of the album as a whole. Although it doesn’t immediately sound like it, it’s one of the darkest tracks. It tells of an individual who grows apart from his friends as he gets older. He begs to not be left alone and the instrumentals are upbeat and hopeful. Suddenly, it becomes quieter and the individual ends up jumping off the balcony.
“No Nurture” is another heart wrencher. Representing the living room, this song delves into the residual issues an individual faces from an absent father. It starts off calm and eventually erupts as the subject’s hurt and angry climax. Near the end, the subject sharply yells, “Father, the day you die I hope you die in a living room/ I hope the irony does not let you laugh/ I hope the life that flashes before your eyes is mine and it doesn’t flash fast.”
“Myth of Lasting Sympathy” is another spine-chilling song, but is also the simplest song on the album. It features only Lockwood’s spoken-word delivery over simple guitar instrumentals. Embodying the closet, the song is about the monsters we were scared of as children, and how we become those monsters as we grow up. The creepy sound emulating a child’s windup music box twinkles in the background as Lockwood says, “That in the stories we want told to us before we fall asleep, the heroes are ideals that never get reached and the villains are absolutely ordinary. And we are absolutely ordinary.”
On the opposite spectrum, “Recluse,” which is about the attic, truly flaunts the drumming, guitar and Travis’ vocals. This song is thrilling because of the tug-of-war between Travis’ soothing vocals with drummer Joe Arrington’s frantic drumbeats and the frenzied guitar. The constant shifting creates an unrest that sucks you in.
Every song has an important place in this album. It’s a musical masterpiece that cannot be passed up. The musicianship of No Place is unparalleled, and only points to great things from the band in the future.