Little Bird have just released their new EP, PROXIMA: ALPHA, and much to my delight they’ve managed to avoid too many lyrics about cell phones. PROXIMA: ALPHA is part of a three-part series that the band has set out to release this year (ALPHA, BETA, and GAMMA), ultimately piecing together the massive 23 track full-length album PROXIMA. It’s quite the undertaking to keep people engaged for 23 tracks straight, but they’re off to a pretty good start here with ALPHA.
Opening track “GHOST” introduces the vibe that permeates the EP: constantly grooving, with a fluid feel that flows from song to song. They’ve paid attention to every production detail, it seems, as each song has a careful transition into the next. We’ve also got several instrumental interludes, which I can normally take or leave, but they do seem to work here. The music is jammy and mellow, but not “sink into your couch” mellow. There’s enough going on with it to party if you want to.
The notorious “SWIPE” is up next, which was released as a single back in January. While Little Bird did fumble the release of this one a bit with the typo-ridden lyric video, the song itself is a hit. It was written about social media culture and presenting yourself online in a certain way, and while I’ve criticized Little Bird in the past for their lyrics, this one keeps it subtle enough to work.
“SWIPE” transitions into the more experimental “HI MAN”, which serves as a nice change of pace as it brings a hip-hop vibe to the mix after the more rock-oriented first few minutes. Hip-hop music is right on target for Little Bird, as members of the band frequently collaborate with artists like Slim S.O.U.L. and Abstract – That Rapper, playing and producing this kind of groovy hip-hop instrumental, and they play it well. While vocalist James Hurtt doesn’t rap here (thankfully), he does take advantage of the ebb and flow of the beat and he plays his part to keep the style and energy up.
Another instrumental piece brings us to “MEGA HOT SUPER BABE”, first released as a single last April. While this song is catchy and fun, it presents me with another opportunity to shake my head at Little Bird. They’ve got this heady vibe going, and it’s nice, and then they transition into this corny pop stuff. You can’t come out of a mind-bending psychedelic jam into “MEGA HOT SUPER BABE”, man. It just doesn’t work like that.
The final proper song on the EP, “PROXIMA”, is also the title track for the full album, and it brings the psychedelic rock element back into the mix. It’s interesting to end on a song like this, as it seems to be upping the ante a bit on the way out. Up next is the closing instrumental section, “CENTAURI”, which seems like a clear lead-in to the first song on the next EP, BETA.
Overall, Little Bird’s PROXIMA: ALPHA is a solid release from the band that wrote “Honey Leak”, a song that I heard and strongly disliked back when it was released in 2018, but that now has almost a million streams on Spotify. In my eyes this EP is a major step up from “Honey Leak” and the Familiar EP, but it still has a few traces of the things that initially frustrated me about this band. Will it surpass a million streams? Who knows. I’ll give it a 7.5/10.
Listen to PROXIMA: ALPHA by Little Bird below.