On October 22nd, Read Southall Band released their eagerly awaited album For The Birds. A few years removed from their last record, and after teasing multiple singles, this album brings to the forefront a new and fresh sound from the group, and you could even say another level of maturity as a band. With RSB and their peers expanding the world of the Red Dirt/TX country scene with a style that is both new and exciting, this record shows great promise for their future releases. The talent this band shows off, mixed with exquisite production, makes For The Birds arguably one of the top albums of the year.
Kicking it off is the introductory track, “For The Birds.” The intense instrumental builds the foundation and kicks listeners’ teeth in with its heavy and raw sound, which gives way for the next song, “DLTGYD.” One of the strongest singles leading up to the record, “DLTGYD” can be summed up in two words: it shreds. The heavy blues-rock tone it gives off, plus every instrument complementing each other, cements this track as one of the album’s best. Jeremee Knipp and Reid Barber are an absolute unit of a rhythm section, along with axemen John Tyler Perry and Ryan Wellman holding it down on guitar.
Up next is “Out of My Mind,” a tune with a grunge edge similar to that of The Smashing Pumpkins or Alice In Chains. The sound brings a sense of nostalgia, which is likely to connect with a lot of fans of 90s rock ‘n’ roll with a jam band aesthetic. Read Southall’s vocals really show out here, showcasing the raw side to his voice. The alternative rocker, “Rose Gold,” is a love song that’s a great example of the evolution of RSB’s sound and maturity of their harmonies -not to mention the standout rhythm section, with a groovy bass line and shuffling drum pattern.
“C’est la Vie,” the guitar-driven instrumental, introduces the next track, “Where We Belong.” The release of this single earlier this year was possibly the first real look at RSB’s dive into a new sound. The melancholy tone and lyrics are almost hypnotic to listen to and it’s a strong middle track on the record.
“Stickin’ n Movin’” delivers classic rock sounding riffs, with Southall’s phrasing bringing a bluesy element to the song. The hook in the chorus is an absolute earworm and it’s a great tune to crank while going 60 in a 35. Up next is a track that will shut those “that ain’t country” complainers right up. “Here We Are (There We Went)” is a straight up country song. With all the criticism going around the community about whether or not a band “sounds country” or not, it’s hard to tell if RSB was making a jab with this one, but it doesn’t matter. This tune holds up as a truly good Western ditty.
“High-Speed Feed” is interesting. If you really examine the way it sounds, there is almost a funk element to it. Rhythmically, the four-to-the-floor pattern gives it a groove that sounds super interesting when mixed with the twangy guitar. Braxton Curliss shows out on the keys as well. “Josephine” starts out as a ballad that swells into a satisfactory solo towards the end, taking us on an emotional trip where Southall really delivers.
Movin right along, we come to “Right or Wrong.” If someone would compare this record to RSB’s 2017 album, Borrowed Time, a point could be made that this track sounds the most similar to the tunes on that record (which isn’t a bad thing, obviously. Check out that album too, guys.). That being said, the song is solid and another soon-to-be classic from RSB. Concluding For The Birds is “Time to Kill,” yet another one that hits tickles your nostalgia bone. Sonically, this track is very strong with the instrumental element complementing Southall’s voice, which is filled with strong emotion that drives it home. All of that, combined with the droning of the guitars during the verses, proves that little details can go a long way. It’s a badass ending to a badass album.
There you have it – another RSB album that is sure to please current fans and create new ones all at once. We waited a while for some new music, but it is hard to argue that the wait wasn’t worth it.
Stream For The Birds and be sure to support Read Southall Band!