A Lot Like Birds announce a new chapter in the most personal way

A Lot Like Birds released one of my favourite records of all time with ‘No Place’ in 2013 but a lot has changed for the band since then. Vocalist Kurt Travis left the band, citing a dislike for the band’s seemingly altered style and when co-vocalist Cory Lockwood explained that he’d be shelving his screamed vocals in favour of melodic singing, it seemed inevitable that whatever surfaced next was going to be a very different sounding band.

‘For Shelley’ is our first listen of the new A Lot Like Birds and though it’s softer, less frantic, less technically demanding and much more melodic, it maintains the one thing this band has always done so well: it packs an emotional punch. The song is a tribute to Lockwood’s mother who tragically passed away last year and Lockwood has poured this pain into his art.

Selfishly I can’t help but wonder how much more immersive this song could have been if performed in Lockwood’s previous vocal style. ‘Hand Over Mouth, Over and Over’ and ‘Myth of Lasting Sympathy’ from ‘No Place’ continue to emotionally destroy me and with a subject matter this personal, ‘For Shelley’ would’ve no doubt reduced me to a blubbering mess if presented in Lockwood’s uniquely expressive voice.

What made ‘No Place’ so special though is that it came from such a personal place that the passion oozed from every note. You can’t force that kind of effect, it comes from the heart. Lockwood’s mother told him “you have a beautiful voice, you should sing more,” something he was never convinced by. He’s spent time training his singing voice and improving his instrument, not to satisfy some stylistic whim of the band, but because that’s what his heart told him to do. As Lockwood puts it “she heard things in my voice that I don’t think were there, or ever will be. With this song, I’m so upset that she never got to hear the voice she had so much faith in. But I’m so happy that she’ll never have to hear my devastation.”

It’s hard to argue with a connection that’s so personal, particularly just for my own selfish desire to hear a sound I’ve become accustomed to. Don’t listen to this song as the successor to ‘No Place’, listen with an entirely new set of ears that’s open to another story from this incredibly talented band. If you do, you’ll hear why this song is such a special moment for A Lot Like Birds, and why I’m now impatiently waiting to hear the entirety of DIVISI – the band’s new album that releases on May 5th.