The self-titled debut by noisy Chinese indie rockers Birdstriking first appeared in 2012 on Beijing-based label Maybe Mars. A home for like-minded Chinese bands with a punk attitude and experimental bent, Maybe Mars was forced to tread carefully, giving Birdstriking a somewhat somewhat limited release due to the politically charged nature of some of the band's songs, which take aim at government censorship and media control. The young group met in 2009 at a hometown gig by influential art rockers Carsick Cars, a band Birdstriking guitarist He Fan would end up joining a year later. Similar to Carsick Cars, Birdstriking ply layers of textural shoegaze and psych treatments over songs that are quite melodic even as they stretch out into wiry cacophonies. The performances here are exuberant and often cathartic on songs like "People's Son" and "Magpie," which offer tuneful, hooky verses that transition into soaring choruses full of wild punk abandon. Musically speaking, it's easy to get swept away by Birdstriking's youthful ideals, and even when singing in Chinese, the primitive rock spirit that runs like a live wire throughout the album is its own universal language. On the jaggedly post-punk "Monkey Snake," Fan defiantly sings "You can control the media, but you can't control my mind," one of several red-flagged lyrics that caused the album to receive a suppressed release in the band's home country. The rest of the world, however, has begun to take notice, with accolades from global media outlets like CNN and more widespread distribution of their album in Australia and now North America thanks to Brian Jonestown Massacre's Anton Newcombe, who brought both the band and its excellent debut (via his A Recordings label) to the U.S. in early 2015.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger