Birdsongs of the Mesozoic

Beat of the Mesozoic

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Birdsongs of the Mesozoic is an instrumental quartet, heavy on electric keyboards, guitars, and percussion (electric and amplified), that partly grew out of the underground rock band Mission of Burma. The band tends to combine elements of prog rock groups like King Crimson, minimalist touches à la Philip Glass, and tribal percussion explosions, all leavened with a slight dash of early-'80s new wave. There are a few missteps along the way on this EP: the Glassian piano arpeggios of "Waterwheel" come across as affected and bland, the pseudo-baroque introduction to "Excavation No. 32" sounds merely silly before acquiring layers of guitar noise, and the opening track's theme is a bit overwrought. When Birdsongs of the Mesozoic hits stride, however, as on "The Beat of the Mesozoic, Part I," the group is able to generate an infectious power and percussive drive that makes one wish for further explorations along that particular road.

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