A Sweet and Bitter Fancy


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A Sweet and Bitter Fancy Review

by Stephen Cramer

Birddog's third full-length release includes ten new songs and three bonus tracks at the end of the disc. Bill Santen continues to lead this hauntingly beautiful outfit. The opener, "Singapore Creek Seduction," a melancholy acoustic number, settles the listener in for a chaotic ride. "Third and South" includes guest performances by Elliott Smith and Jilian Wieseneck. The song ends with the haunting line, "lightning danced across the sky." The fourth track, "Rattlesnakes," includes guest vocals by Edith Frost. On "Baseball," Santen rigidly recites lyrics to whoever is listening with a desperate craving to be heard. On "Summer Again," Santen serves up a Modest Mouse-like sing/talk melody over a crashing symphony of rhythm. Minimalistic instrumentation and heartachingly soothing lyrics combine to create an eerie musical atmosphere on Birddog's Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records debut. Santen is somehow able to succeed as both a singer of soft, acoustic, folk-like symphonies and the almost-rapper of chaotic Southern hymns. In the American indie scene, he serves as a bluesy and honest champion of modest songs, covering simple themes. The ragged American flag on the CD cover serves as a symbol of holding one's self together while falling apart at the seams.

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