“Universes” is the second album from Birds of Tokyo, independently released on 5 July 2008.
The Personnel for the album is Ian Kenny on vocals, Adam Spark on guitars and keyboards, Adam Weston on drums and Anthony Jackson on bass.
If people are unaware, Birds of Tokyo formed in 2005 as another creative outlet for Karnivool vocalist Ian Kenny who wanted to do something softer and accessible.
There was a period between 2005 to 2012 that both bands operated, however Birds Of Tokyo then took over Ian Kenny’s life until late 2018 when Karnivool got together to play some shows and then COVID-19 hit and it looks like both bands started operating again at the same time.
I am a Karnivool fan first, and my interest to hear Birds Of Tokyo was because of that.
Karnivool plays a certain brand of heavy alternative rock/Metal which I like but even they have added more abstract movements into their songs..
Birds Of Tokyo at the start had this lighter alternative rock vibe happening but as they grew more popular, they more or less became a standard verse and chorus pop act. And a very good one at that.
Backward tape noises for about a minute leads into the “opening track”.
Its aggressive in the verses and it could pass as a more pop version of Karnivool, purely because of Ian Kenny’s vocals.
The “I’m on a highway that leads to the end” section and how it builds up is why you should press play on this, because I guess no matter what we do, all of the roads we take lead us to our end.
For humans are born just to die.
Wild Eyed Boy
It’s got a start that reminds me of “The Cure” and “Inxs” but Ian Kenny’s voice and vocals keeps the song rooted in rock territory.
The triple knock out combo continues with this.
It’s fast rock, hard to describe, but the vocal melodies are so catchy, they remain long after the song is finished, especially the lyric “there goes my baby”.
Head in My Hands
It feels almost like an Icehouse track, with Iva Davies singing. A bit slower, more early 80’s Brit Pop like Joy Division and I can’t get the lyric “I hate my melodies there all the same” out of my head.
But press play to hear the Thin Lizzy like harmonies which mimic the vocal melodies.
It reminds me of Jet and “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” in spirit and feel. It also could have come from a Wolfmother album.
An Ode to Death
It’s heavy with a sinister groove and a chord progression that reminds me of “The Way” from Fastball.
Armour for Liars
Its aggressive and super melodic.
“Flowing blood for wealth and oil, the arms race and their toys, Power suits and power ties, corporate armour built for liars” more or less sums up what the song is about.
And I like the repeating line of “hey kid, run on home again, no world news to sell again”.
The Baker’s Son
More like Karnivool than the alternative pop rock on show here and at 6 plus minutes long, the song moves between moods and feels.
It feels like its influenced by INXS as it has that vibe with a bit of Radiohead and Muse mixed in.
A strummed acoustic and metronomic piano chords with Kenny’s vocals makes up the closer.
If your time is short, then press play to hear the first three tracks in “Broken Bones”, “Wild Eyed Boy” and “Silhouettic” along with the 70’s rocker “White Witch”. While I think of it, stick around for “Armours For Liars” as the deep track.
And it was certified Gold in Australia but it’s not the album you see in their Top 5 Spotify list. Those bigger albums were just around the corner.