Lying in my scratcher two weeks ago desperately searching for the motivation to get up, I was roused from my semi-conscious slumber by an interview with David Rotheray on the Today programme about his (then) forthcoming album - The Life of Birds. Background clips of two tracks (The Sparrow et al and Crows et al) was all that was needed for me to rise, wrap a towel around my burgeoning waistline and tip-toe to the laptop to pre-order the album. A fortnight later, returning home from holiday, I found the CD sitting on the mat among all that unwanted guff which accumalates when your guard is down. Bags still packed and dirty washing festering, I have now listened to the album three times through and feel qualified to comment.
The album struck a note instantly; of great appeal is the wide range of superb musicians singing and accompanying DR on each track. Folk and acoustic features prominently throughout but that is not to categorise this album as such. It covers a wide spectrum of styles (there's even a slide guitar for those of you with exotic tastes) which all combine to produce a first class collection of songs that comment on issues such as greed, puberty, marriage, Alzheimers, old age, supressed sexuality and electric clocks. As to be expected, there is a song about Hull. There is a melancholic feel to the album, but not at the expense of humour and wit, and all of the songs are beautifully arranged. The album's subtle production enhances the music opposed to stripping it of all its charm. This is an album to treasure and is one that deserves to be listened to. If, like me, you have never heard DR's solo stuff before, take a chance and buy this one - you will not be disappointed (and you will also discover how exciting birds can be!).