There’s nothing wrong with the Southampton alt-proggers’ dreamily groovy fifth.
It would be a mistake, you’d think, to get cornered by Birdpen at a dinner party. Thankfully, the duo – made up of Dave Pen of Archive, and Mike Bird – spend a lot more time working on their music than they did their band name. The results are a splendid mix of psych rock, electronics and a doomy ambience, which makes you think they might get a bit maudlin after a drink or two. It’s a glorious sound they make, though, and There’s Something Wrong With Everything is beautiful in the way that sheets of dense rain and black clouds can be beautiful when framed against a vista of rugged countryside. Theirs is the soundtrack to the comedown after an especially spangled bank holiday weekend, spacey and strangely welcoming, even if their lyrics tend to want to bite. There are touches of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd, a dash of Can, even some downbeat folksy notes on the especially good Natural Rewards. Kudos must also go to the dark majesty of the brooding title track, and the hollowed out Good News, which sounds like it could have been a latter-day Replacements out-take – and that is very much meant as a compliment.