With fresh start in mind and intensity in his lyrics, Adam Bird has taken the creativity he always had and the musicality he always wanted and blended the two to create the perfect concoction of new and old, fresh and classic. His alias, aBIRD, is a step in a new direction for the musician most known around the New Jersey music scene as a member of Those Mockingbirds. Without fully shedding his indie rock skin or leaving his electric guitar shredding roots behind, aBIRD has come into his own with a seven-track album that takes all of what he knew and amplifies it with a newness and a unique quality that many fans didn’t see coming.
Hard Times in Two Dimensions is a sound-based record. By that, I mean that the heavy incorporation of a synth, repeated beat patterns, and effect pedals makes for the music to be less garage band and more GarageBand. He’s taken the authentic quality of instrumentals, creating an original and dedicated sound, and rocking out in the purest state and pushed all of that aside in order to create an a sound that is grounded within its electronic, computationally mixed roots. Which, of course, lets aBIRD become his own artist and his own person — not as the man who once was a part of a more alternative rock band sounding group.
The fourth track, “The Lights,” has an almost EDM type quality to it, with a memorable background beat that will have your foot tapping, but lyrics that get lost in the midst of it all. Although the song is one of the best produced on the album, there is such a focus on everything else besides the vocals that you lose track of their importance to the piece as a whole. In contrast, “A Cool Island Song,” one of the singles that came ahead of this full length’s release, has one of the most heartfelt (albeit melancholy due to its roots in a possibly broken relationship), lyrical moments on the album and truly shows Bird’s talent off in the best way; as a vocalist, lyricist, and solo artist.
While “A Cool Island Song” finds itself as a fantastic balance of Those Mockingbirds and aBIRD, it is the closing track off Hard Times in Two Dimensions that is quite a home run for capturing the skill he has, as well as the attention of both old and new fans. Starting the song is poignant guitar riff that rocks hard, but Bird balances it with an equally as steady drum line that adds a sense of subtle grooviness to it that isn’t felt quite often on this record — possibly because synths and beats aren’t something that falls in the groovy category when described. In all seriousness, placing “Polluto” at the end of this record seemed to be quite a strategic move, for it really drives something about this whole album home…and maybe it is because it’s reminiscent of an old sound, but I think it has something to do with the passion that is ignited in the slick vocals and honest undertones in the instrumentation.