CD Review: Magnificent Bird’s “Superdark Can Happen To Anyone”

 

(Zanzibar! Records)

 By Doug Hill

Recorded over the past five years, this album is more attractive music from Norman’s vibrant music scene. Magnificent Bird’s core is a duo comprised of Nathan Lee Lofties (vocals/various instruments) and Tiffany Lynne Criswell (vocals/piano). They brought into their nest several other talented Norman musicians who play on most of the disc’s ten tracks. In a time when band press sheets are sometimes received listing only the players’ first names, the liner notes here include the personnel’s full first, middle and last names. It’s a nice touch that’s a throwback to another age, along with some aspects of Magnificent Bird’s sound. The music has a gentle and sophisticated sensibility that’s been called art rock in other decades.

Criswell’s soprano vocals for slightly macabre “The Married Woman” could be from early in the last century. All songs’ lyrics were written by Lofties and Criswell, but apparently not collaborating together. As the album’s title might suggest the content tends to the puzzlingly poetic. “Repeater” appears to have a theme of ancient deity worship punctuated by Stetson Chase Spivey’s very modern electric lead guitar passages. Last track “Don’t Call On Me” is my pick of the flock. It’s about a father disowning a son with references to shame and religion. There’s a power in not knowing if the son is homosexual, coward or traitor to his faith. Lofties’ sensitive vocal delivery contributes to the song’s magnificent mystery.

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