I refuse to throw myself at the feet of yet another great Finnish band, particularly when they’re so good that they get drop-ins from guys like Nels Cline, which goes to show they’re already too big for their britches, doesn’t it?
But shut up, yes, The Latebirds are awesome, taking the right sorts of cues from the 1970s, like the big-ass Andrew Gold-style solo in the endlessly climaxing title-track opener; the thing comes off like Ben Folds in an almost-but-not-quite serious Elton John mood. There’s the smell of Phish and Pink Floyd wafting from “Among the Survivors,” its jam-band melody kept awake by more old-school scorched-earth axmanship. In the end it’s a Big Star-accented ’70s AOR exercise that couldn’t really be more timely, what with the new breed of indie kids dipping tentative toes into hook-oriented arena stuff; only problem is that although it does feel like a politically correct scam sometimes, the band’s penchant for laid-back anthems will probably have some listeners believing it’s the real non-hipster deal from way the hell back, i.e. it could really use some defining glitch or similar new-jack quirkiness — maybe they’ll learn something from Cline. A
—Eric W. Saeger