Wilding : Bird's Bread
It’s common to view the late '60s through the distorted lens of the baby boomer generation’s historical revisionism. Street marches, libertarian sexual philosophy, political agitation, Nehru jackets and the rest. The reality is far more complex – why, for example, did Nixon win the presidency in 1968, John Gorton triumph in 1969 and Engelbert Humperdinck out sell Jimi Hendrix – but the mythology makes for much better pop culture.
Wilding’s debut album Bird’s Bread is bristling with the alleged optimism of yore. Take opening track I’ll Be There: the country village whimsy of John Lennon with a delightfully inebriated Ringo Starr at his heel. Or The Kinks wide-eyed wonder of Pale Blue Eyes, or even the psychedelic pop-love of Burning Up Inside? She’s A Casual User takes to the dusty plains with an arm full of Gram Parsons records and a dose of mescalin and has the best time, ever; the sadness of The Day I Let You Pass Me By is as soft as the proverbial baby’s backside. The kaleidoscopic comic edge of I’ll Love You Until Monday Morning would bring a smile to any Brill Building songwriter, Alopecia is dirty in a nice-boy sort of way, Are You Listening? and Lost Afternoon are two aspects of the moment of solitude Brian Wilson spent years subconsciously wallowing in.
Yet it’s a fundamental mistake to see Wilding as either indulging or labouring the retro-psych-pop thing. Stripped of the labelling and gratuitous historical associations, Bird’s Bread is a seriously good pop record. And that is all that counts.
BY PATRICK EMERY
Best Track: Pale Blue Eyes
If You Like This, You’ll Salivate Over: THE KINKS, VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY
In A Word: Sparkling