Rhythm & Views 

Radio Birdman

Late-'70s Australian proto-punk warriors Radio Birdman make a convincingly triumphant return with their first new studio album in nearly three decades. Unlike the latest comeback by the falsely posturing New York Dolls, original 50-something-old core members Rob Younger (vocals), Deniz Tek (guitar) and Chris Masuak (guitar) have teamed up for a straightforward, no-holds-barred rebirth fueled by the inspirational trademarks of their earliest incarnation: the Stooges, MC5, Blue Oyster Cult, surf music and a plethora of unheralded '60s garage-crud bands.

Despite Younger's intimidating, rapid-fire delivery losing some of its power and luster, the twin stun-gun guitar attack of Tek and Masuak has retained much of its riotous appeal. And while improved studio tools allow a cleaner guitar sound to infiltrate, the band has largely stayed faithful to its original vision and sensibly disregarded jumping on the overhyped garage-revival gravy train.

From the opening, axe-slinging blitzkrieg of "We've Come So Far (To Be Here Today)" to the cascading fusillade of "Hungry Cannibals," Radio Birdman barely deviate from the Detroit-born hot-wired anthems they worship. The complex and rich Ventures-inspired title track closes out this refreshing effort with chiming guitar work and cocky Jan and Dean vocal harmonies, confirming that for these timeless warhorses, legitimate resurrection is fiercely real, and not just a blatant cash-hungry venture like that of the pitiful Dolls.

More by Ron Bally


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