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Birth - Born (Bad Omen)

13 July 2022

Rising from the ashes of the much-missed Astra, who released a pair of psychedelic proto-prog albums in the early 2010s, Birth, well, pretty much picks up where Astra left off on its first full-length album Born. Joined by bassist Trevor Mast and drummers Thomas DiBennedetto and Paul Maronne, bandleaders Conor Riley and Brian Ellis stack warm organ, thick guitars, shiny Mellotron and analog synths atop phantasmogoric post-psych melodies. Dense arrangements add an aura of mystery to the tracks, with lots of layers to pull back, and Riley’s lyrics – sung in a calm, dreamy tone – do little to clear up the enigma. That’s as it should be, though – meaning is less important than aura here, and the massive cathedrals of sound comprising “Descending Us,” “Long Way Down” and “Cosmic Tears” convey more with their impact than they do their intent. Birth’s dedication to exploring the sounds of the late sixties and early seventies is impressive enough, but their ability to bring those sounds back to life on Born is even moreso.