By Ian Schultz
September 30, 2013
When Captured tracks announced it had struck a deal with Flying Nun to re-release selected parts of their back-catalogue, it made many people excited including myself. They have so far released a compilation of Toy Love, EPs by Snapper and The Bats for Record Store Day and The Clean’s seminal album Vehicle. The Verlaines, via their facebook page, also recently announced that they would be getting the re-issue treatment soon.
Captured Tracks have also released the rarity that is the Bird Nest Roys’ collected works. Admittedly, having not been aware of their existence before the announcement of the reissue, they’re the more elusive of the Flying Nun contingent. Bird Nest Roys, like the more obscure Flying Nun bands, share members with more established acts; namely Snapper and the 3ds. They were only around for two years but they released a self titled LP in 1987 and the Whack It All Down EP in 1985.
Bird Nest Roys – like most of the Flying Nun bands – certainly have that wonderful jangle-pop sound that the Kiwis are so good at pulling off. The band however were not originally a part of Dunedin Flying Nun. The Birds were from Auckland that always had a rivalry with the Christchurch and Dunedin scenes. They did however support The Chills early on and by the time they played Christchurch Hamish from the Clean were dancing at the front of their gigs. They naturally recorded for Flying Nun, although I hesitate to write sign, because very few bands ever signed contacts with Flying Nun.
The Birds had a bizarre line-up of 3 guitarists with two of them also taking on singing duties, along with another singer who also “danced” and a bass player and drummer to get the rhythm together. They unmistakably sound like a Flying Nun band, but they also certainly drew influences from the American paisley underground scene with the likes of Rain Parade and The Dream Syndicate coming through in their sound.
It’s wonderful lysergic induced pop even though it never quite gets to the dizzy heights of The Chills, The Clean or the more classical Verlaines or the more JAMC esq. Snapper. It does, however, make up for its imperfections with it’s strange instrumentation and off kilter lyrics. It jumps around with more psychedelic songs so that it almost sounds like The Monochrome Set or some Postcard record.