OTHER NICE THINGS SAID ABOUT TIRED BIRDS
“On his latest album, Tired Birds, Edwards’ aural experiments come across as particularly Beck-like, the sound of a man able to dig through all the acoustic melodies and electronic bleeps residing in his head and find the best possible way to showcase them.” - The Onion A/V Club
"While there's no shortage of one-man band's tinkering away in their basements with samplers and synthesizers here in the Twin Cities, few can match the OME in sheer sonic splendor. Songs like lead single "Soul on Fire," cross icy and efficient minimalist New Wave instrumentation with stacked-to-the-heavens "Pet-Sounds" inspired harmonies, resulting in a truly alluring hybrid of classic and modern pop." - Metromix
“Very impressive recorded work from Mark Edwards...the man who goes by the name (OME). Edwards writes and records a heady and complex type of free form pop music that is difficult to describe and hard to compare with other artists. If you're looking for formulaic pop, you won't find it here.” BabySue
“(OME) is back with Tired Birds, his most melodic, cohesive album to date. In it, crisp beats and languid strings paint pictures of doves and prophets across eight excellent tracks.” - City Pages
FULL REVIEW | BUZZINE | July 11, 2011
by Andrew Shaw
(Princess Records) Musically, Tired Birds, from the outset, has a sort of kaleidoscopic feel. “Mourning Doves,” the opening instrumental track, lets you know that this is set to be a thoughtful, emotional trip. Lyrically, the vision is crisp and almost religiously surreal. Extraordinary visions occur within ordinary circumstances. OME, aka Mark Edwards, has a very particular perspective -- new, unusual, and yet strangely familiar. Magical and disorientating, but reassuring rather than unsettling.
On display is an uncynical, compassionate collection that appears to have been informed as much by literary classics as it is modern music. In this sense, 'literary' means a reliance on archetypical motifs, not an overburdened or showy syllable count. Avian are used as metaphor. Flight and feathers pass shadows and shapes over much of proceedings. Different types of birds assert different types of life. Meanings are inherent or newly projected. Traditional associations are expressed, and modern, individual relations are adopted and expressed. Sometimes people are birds; sometimes birds experience human emotions. The distinctions between the two are blurred.
This is a collection of Folktronica, glitched up, smoothed out, and treated to space. The sense of scale morphs to fill its container, whether in headphones or on a larger speaker system. Volume comes from dynamism, faltering (purposefully tripped) beats. At one turn, an intimate confession can also arrive as a confident assertion of truth. “Prophet Songs” addresses the object of love, affection, or something more. “I saw you as I screamed in the wilderness” displays a level of deceptively simple intensity that, on one level, is uncalculated, abandoned, and desperate, yet it's delivered with such restrained calm and reflection, we know we're safe; desperation has passed, at least for now. “We will not need the moon or the sun” references spiritual scripture, but it also suggests the gravity of a more local source. “There's a thunderstorm brewing behind this breeze” is one of the clearest definitions of how OME deals with the elements and an awareness of all things passing.
Mark Edwards has a voice and method of breathing that sustains a non-literal meaning to lyrics which are already weighted with significance, subtext, and history. “Am I now the enemy?” -- a line from “Off the Rails” -- is delivered with a coolness of clarity, but with an ever-so-slight grain of something in the throat. It's the kind of question that's only asked under certain circumstances. It's the kind of question that's only asked when someone is in pain, and it adds hurt to ask. Words are gradually tweaked, the line is refracted in repetition, and reassurance is offered. Sometimes sadness is inevitable -- no one wins. Life is beautiful because it does this to us all at some point. This is naked stuff. Things are as they are.
The entire collection, with the thread of common lyrical metaphor, exists almost cinemagraphically. Themes expand and fade, overlap, and gently cajole one another. Individual tracks stand as vignettes or smaller aspects pulled from a larger picture or story. This is a genuine album, not a collection of singles. Relationships between substances are important. You can listen to songs one at a time, but sitting with them all in sequence, following the migration, is where the rewards will be found. A linear quality runs subtly in both production techniques and storytelling. It's clever stuff, but 'heart and guts clever' as much as 'smarts clever.'
An unusual truism about the music industry is that a Pop song – a song that sells Platinum and is blared from clothing stores, night clubs, and car windows – is a form of High Art. The ability to appeal and speak to millions of people, to unify a sentiment, or a concept across cultures, timezones, and sometimes even languages, is almost superhuman. Drop the music-snobbery, you'll be less angry, and this truth makes life lighter. 'Lowest Common Denominator' sometimes just means 'Broad Foundation.' Populism is not always a dirty word. With Tired Birds, OME has written a collection that has the ability to speak to people in great numbers. This is 'Indie,' just like Arcade Fire is an 'Indie band' – unique in vision, certain of approach, sort of unusual, high in intelligent and emotional content, yet outselling most of their contemporaries in the mainstream 'Pop' market. Mark Edwards will never hear his tunes being blared from nightclubs (it's just not that kind of vibe), but he certainly deserves a bigger-than-traditional Indie audience, and a bigger-than-traditional Indie audience deserve Mark Edwards.
Listening to this stuff will cost you something. You may cry in front of someone. You may make a phone call that you've been putting off. You may learn to forgive someone. You may even learn to forgive yourself. Tired Birds is nothing less than beauty. Its intentions are admirable, and its execution is damn near sublime.
Standout Tracks: "Mourning Doves," "Off the Rails," "Soul on Fire," "Prophet Songs"