Shining Bird - Black Opal

Shining Bird Black Opal cover
Shining Bird
Black Opal
Spunk Records
Shining Bird is a somewhat new act from Down Under, which started back in 2012 as a studio project and they turned into an actual band and released their debut album “Leisure Coast” in 2013. Now 3 years later, they’re back with their sophomore release entitled “Black Opal”. This second album has some major musical differences with the debut. For instance, Shining Bird are not an “experimental pop” band as they said when their debut was out; yet, they have passed that point and evolved as any vital and forward looking act should do…
Shining Bird has added various post-punk, gothic rock, atmospheric & acoustic elements on “Black Opal”, which makes the new album way more interesting, moody & distinctive than you could ever think of. Honestly, at times it is like listening to a “diverse/altered” band (than the one of the debut), but that’s the beauty of music progression. “I Can Run” is an amazing atmospheric melodic track that will gratify all those who are into this kind of music. At times, I thought that I was listening to “an old good track” from the past. “Helluva Lot” keeps the pace up but with a somewhat more poppy atmosphere. “Morning Light” is a little more moody overall and it does showcase again that this is the band’s strong point. Another excellent track and a bit reminiscent of the80s. “Love Shadow” is quite acoustic with some fine atmospheric keys. The same goes for “Utopia”, which is utterly acoustic, but the keys steal the show when they are used. “Charlie” is an instrumental synth-pop track with several 80s “hi-tech” hints and nice sax. “Rivermouth” was released as a single in September 2015 and got quite a praise by the press in general. It’s a wonderful calm acoustic atmospheric synth-pop track that has its late 80s touches as well. “Buried” is a slow atmospheric pop track that lasts a little less than 7 minutes. Lastly, “Lonely Song” is an acoustic, emotional and murky track with a nice atmospheric half.
The album was written and recorded in the Blue Mountains of NSW and it was mixed by Russell Webster and Tim Whitten (The Go-Betweens, Hoodoo Gurus). The production is clear & lush without being “retro”. It does exhale an 80s feeling every so often.
Shining Bird have set the basis for quite a fascinating music future and I’m already looking forward to their next album. If they keep it up like this and dive into the post-punk, gothic rock & atmospheric genre of the late 80s a little more, then they are capable of doing something really good. You see the old bands are not very fertile anymore and you can hardly find any newcomer that is as focused & skillful as Shining Bird. That makes them one of the “high hopes” for this genre in general. It’s very important to be able to honor your music roots without being “passé” or just “copy-paste” of what others did in the past and Shining Bird go over big with “Black Opal”. Nevertheless, if you fancy atmospheric moody pop/rock music with nice melodies then you had better check out “Black Opal” right away…