Saturday, September 04, 2021

Jade Bird releases Insightful new offering 'Different Kinds Of Light'

I first became aware of Jade Bird’s music back in 2019 when Radio X seemingly refused to play anything other than a handful of singles from her self-titled debut album. 

These powerfully sung acoustic-rock tracks were enough to pique my interest, and the rest of the album did not disappoint. Two years later and Bird is back with a follow-up record, ‘Different Kinds of Light’, but what, if anything, is different? 

Though born in Northumberland, you could be forgiven for not realising this, as her early acoustic country-folk tracks felt more Nashville than Newcastle. 

On this new record, however, without turning her back on her southern American influences, Bird certainly does enough to break free from the label of ‘Americana Country-Folk Singer’, as she diversifies throughout the fifteen tracks. The diversity, improved production and more layered instrumentals all come together to make this release feel much more developed and well-rounded than her first record. 

The first track on this release, titled ‘DKOL’, would have you believe that everything has changed; opening the album with ninety-three seconds of steadily building ambient noise with soft, heavenly vocals swirling underneath, eventually reaching a tense, agitating climax. While this is in no way a bad track, it does set the album up to be something it isn’t. This is not an experimental record, and it isn’t going to change the face of music. But it is a step away from her debut, and a solid, enjoyable album throughout its forty-three-minute runtime. 

The upbeat ‘Honeymoon’ with its brit-pop-esque feel is one of the most refreshing and catchy cuts on the record, with ‘Different Kinds of Light’ and ‘Red White and Blue’ providing a satisfying respite, slowing the pace down and showcasing Bird’s ability at the softer end of her vocal range. 

Bird’s 2019 album was full of powerful vocal performances on tracks such as ‘Uh Huh’ and ‘Love Has All Been Done Before’, and while the likes of ‘Candidate’ see Bird begin to dip her toe back into the style which epitomised her debut, she never quite reaches the same heights and appears to hold back in some moments with might have benefitted from her going all-out on the vocals, which is a shame, but understandable as she attempts to move away from any style which she may have been pigeonholed into two years ago. 

While her vocal performance never truly falters throughout the record, the lyrics occasionally leave something to be desired. ‘Now is the Time’ is one of the strongest tracks on the album with its summery vibes and indie style guitars, however, lines such as “If I had a penny for all your potential / I'd be left drowning, my mouth full of metal” feel noticeably weaker than what this album delivers most of the time. 

Overall, ‘Different Kinds of Light’ is an enjoyable record by a talented musician with an excellent voice displaying a willingness to work outside her comfort zone and take influence from all over the musical spectrum. With this in mind it’s clear to see why Bird’s fanbase continues to grow and we’re eager to see where she ends up next on her musical journey.

Tom Bain
@Tom_Bain_ @TomWritesStuf 
Image: Different Kinds of Light official album cover

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