Bill Baird

Silence!

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If there's something really remarkable about Bill Baird's Silence!, it's that it almost could be the complete opposite of where his work in Sunset has gone: this is a true solo excursion in every sense of the word, a turn away from the approach that's gained him increasing attention rather than a continuation of the same thing over again in an individual context. Baird presents a gripping cover of Philip Glass' "Koyaanisqatsi," whose obsessive focus becomes a sweet but unsettling near singalong, and is a marker in the sand on its own. Other signs of outside inspiration can be heard in songs like "Softly," which feels exactly like a late Spacemen 3/earlier Spiritualized gospel/psych bit of calm sweetness, albeit without any specific lyrics. The perfectly titled "Slow Implosion" which starts the album, has extended drones and what could almost be a distant trumpet either invoking the dawn or providing an elegy for something or someone departed, while the short "Rain on the Window," with its soft piano bursts and an almost quavering vocal sound, also fits its title well. There's also some wry humor evident: "Surfing" sounds like the most un-surfiest songs ever with its slow, ominous ebb-and-flow feel, but the high tones and the hints of distant Wilson-brothers style harmony almost suggest an ultimate late-'60s Beach Boys song slipping away out of reach, a cresting wave going down in the far distance.

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