by Keeley Braunstein-Black
Written and released during quarantine, this digital album available on Bandcamp is an outstanding example of how humans process feelings and experiences through creativity. birdsacrosswater’s music here is decidedly lo-fi and sun baked. This EP is the direct result of the covid-19 pandemic and is perfect for staying indoors for long periods of time, becoming anxious and/or infuriated by the news, finding solace in watching dust float around a room, and that subtle feeling of impending doom. These sentiments are all barely addressed but can be felt in the songs of Dirty Omen.
Running a total of 12 minutes and 27 seconds, Dirty Omen consists of five tracks with some of the songs being oddly reminiscent of some old-timey pop music with the rhythmic patterns, harmonics, harmonies, back-up vocals, synths, and use of saxophone. The EP also draws influences from a mix of genres like hip-hop, alternative, electronic, lo-fi, and ambient. The songs are punctuated by crisp vocals that pull no punches in their directness and language.
One moment you are listening to some tunes you swear your grandma could have grown up with, then the lyrics splash over top reminding you that this is indeed a product of our time. Who am I kidding, my potty mouth grandma totally would have listened to a song with “motherfucker” in the lyrics back in the day if she had been able to get her hands on it.
Drawing inspiration from the current events that have rocked the world, while being informed by experiences on a very personal level, Dirty Omen has the ability to touch almost everyone through our shared experiences of taking action through inaction — sitting around and watching dust and pretending everything is going to be alright to protect ourselves and others.
When listening to this EP, you find yourself going “Yup. I totally did that, or felt that during lockdown at some point.” Dirty Omen touches on and evokes a myriad of raw emotions that come over you in waves.
The cover art also fits the style of the music perfectly with the face of someone who could be a 50s pin up model, only with a cloth mask. Made by the collage artist Ming Wu, the art was also “an artistic response to this new world we find ourselves in”. Which is perhaps why they fit together so well. They were on the same wavelength at that moment in time.