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The beat

Man is not a bird, but he is flying high

Shoegaze

Dreampop so good it could shatter your windows.

 

After spending the best part of last year touring tirelessly in their native France – including a coveted opening slot for the reformed Ride – Paris-based dream-poppers Man Is Not A Bird have returned to the studio and come out with their debut EP Life & Levity. Following on from their cult hit of a first record Survived The Great Flood, the EP is nothing short a triumphant success for the band, spending every second of its four track, 21-minute running time swinging for the fences, and in doing so making a simple case for itself: this is a band that matters.

Floating Blind, the majestic first track, opens with a wash of chorused guitars reminiscent of The Head on the Door-era Cure, soon followed by weary, pained vocals reverberating like plainsong. It’s a gorgeously pretty start, and only lasts for about a minute, before escalating into Pumpkins-esque juggernaut of layered, pummelling riffs.

The anthemic grunge-pop of Haze follows, managing to be gently wistful and suffocatingly heavy at the same time, and is no doubt destined to be shouted along to by their growing legion of fans with fervour at future gigs. In fact, it’s this duality that makes Man Is Not A Bird so exciting; it’s perfect summer pop music dressed up as thick, claustrophobic rock. The galloping title track, meanwhile, soars effortlessly over its grinding guitars, stopping only briefly to let you come up for air during its chugging breakdown before building to a huge climax. The vocals are buried deep in the mix throughout, with lyrics barely decipherable – but to complain about that would be to miss the point entirely; these songs are all about the feel.

With riffs that could shatter the glass of your suburban bedroom window and simple, irresistible melodies, it’s safe to say that Life & Levity deserves to lift Man Is Not A Bird into wider international recognition. If you’re at all partial to the shoegaze giants like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, this is one band you won’t want to miss out on.

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