Birdsongs of the Mesozoic with Oral Moses Dawn of the Cycads

Birdsongs' keyboard/percussion plus guitar trio must've provided some classic moments of disconnect when they hit the stage at various punk/rock venues. This, however, would've been quickly overcome by the rhythm box and classically oriented onslaught of energy that roared from the stage. Dawn of the Cycads is a double CD set that encapsulates Birdsongs' recorded history, starting from duo keyboard pieces by Roger Miller (Mission of Burma) and Erik Lindgren (Moving Parts) recorded in the early '80s and ending with a live set in Boston in '87. What is striking about the music is the driving energy that carries a sophisticated and intelligent compositional sense into the realms of noise, as well as what can only be described as uplifting, unsentimental positivism. In the days of edgy, dark hardcore, pompous big hair excess and vacuous pop, it must've been an oddly refreshing experience to listen to such a no-bullshit display of Zappa/Reich-inflected fun fuelled by some damn solid musicianship. Nostalgia certainly isn't what it used to be but Dawn of the Cycads holds some pretty great reminders of what it can mean today. (Cuneiform)