Birdsongs of the Mesozoic

Dancing on A'A

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Three years passed between the releases of Pyroclastics and Dancing on A'A. During that period, founding member Martin Swope left the band and was replaced by guitarist Michael Bierylo, leaving keyboardists Erik Lindgren and Rick Scott as the only remaining original members of the group. Bierylo adds a certain depth to the band's sound; on "A Band of Deborahs (Not Debbies)," his rockabilly-derived guitar part brings a more rounded, bass-y dimension. Saxophonist Ken Field plays flute for the first time on the title track, which also makes for a slightly startling sonic departure. There's a nice tribute to the band's other missing charter member, keyboardist Roger Miller, in the form of a version of Miller's rather apocalyptic "Swamp." And, these guys being who they are, they just can't resist a slightly twisted take on pop culture. In the past that urge has been expressed in arrangements of theme songs from children's TV shows (Rocky & Bullwinkle and The Simpsons). This time out it's an almost-straight rendition of "Peter Gunn." This album doesn't quite hit the spot the way Faultline did, but it's certainly worth hearing.

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