LES BIG BYRD
Whooshing, Scandi space rock delivered on album two – despite some hiccups.
Staking a claim for album title of the year – Iran Iraq IKEA comes from a slogan that singer Jocke Åhlund saw printed on a tie in Berlin – this second album from the Swedes has taken some time to get here. The initial idea had been to make good on their 2014 debut, They Worshipped Cats, by reuniting with sometime co-writer Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, on whose label that album was released. However, things took a turn for the worse when they also decided to bring in extra help in the shape of Pete ‘Sonic Boom’ Kember, formerly of Spacemen 3. Newcombe and Kember simply didn’t get on, leaving Åhlund and his bandmates to do it themselves instead. Thankfully, Les Big Byrd have trusted their instincts, delivering an album of synth-packed space rock with a terrific sense of propulsion throughout.
The standout track is I Tried So Hard, which rushes along like Hookworms at their exhilarating best, while A Little More Numb (featuring Kember) feels like the brighter cousin of Spiritualized’s I Think I’m In Love. Eon and Mannen Utanför edge towards middle ground pop, but otherwise there’s plenty for prog fans to savour here.