Birdland – Hollow Heart

A breakneck debut single, performed by the peroxide bobbed hair four piece from the midlands. An absolute firecracker of a debut, it still hangs onto a melody despite being incredibly fast. It is one of those times when you think to yourself that the record player has switched to 78rpm. Completely over the top and ridiculous, which is why they are worth a place in musical history. There is little to differentiate between the songs, each has buzzsaw, giddy guitar solos that complement the vocal rush of lyrics.

Completely different to what was going on in the wistful indie scene. Which was introverted and whimsical. Just imagine this being performed by Birdland live, with onstage synchronised formation pogoing. This is the sound that they create on the single.

Birdland : Hollow Heart

Hollow Heart
Gotta Get Away
Sugar Blood

Birdland – Live

A freebie LP single sided and recorded at the Moles Club, Bath on the 11th September 1989 .  This was given away to gig ticket holders during the band’s October tour.  It defines the raw energy and chaotic live performances.  I never saw Birdland they appeared at Southampton University just before I really got into going to gigs.  In the NME back in 1994 they asked indie luminaries about their best gig they saw, James Dean Bradfield from the Manic Street Preachers said that the best gig he saw was Birdland.

12/01/90 – Town Hall, Maesteg, Wales: “It was on the ‘Sleep With Me’ tour. Not many people turned up: there must have been about 150 there. They just started smashing everything up, and beating up the security in front of hysterical screaming kids. It was just great: I felt a bit like Joe Strummer seeing the Sex Pistols or something … not quite that far maybe, but it but it made me feel like I wasn’t so far out of place. We used to play in our school shirts and things and it gave us the confidence to think that if we got any shit, we were still cool.” [James Dean Bradfield, Manic Street Preachers; ‘Best Gig I Ever Saw’ NME, 10 September 1994] (Note: according to one-time Birdland associate … the Manics were big-time Birdland fans, following them to shows and pestering for autographs)

Birdland : Live

See No Evil
Hollow Heart
Gotta Getaway
Sugar Blood
Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger

Birdland – Everybody Needs Somebody

The band’s final single, which was not very well received.  John Peel called it, “Birdland by numbers” on Radio 1’s review show. The title track is a quick, sharp Birdland staple tune, but does not have the urgency of their earlier songs.  It slows down a bit for the rest of the EP, which is not really Birdland.  Some reviews suggest that Birdland were trying to create a more mature sound.  Back in 1991 The Manic Street Preachers and Birdland were very similar, yet the Manics’ morphed into a stadium band.  I don’t think Birdland could have pulled this off, even with more varied sources of influence.

Birdland : Everybody Needs SomebodyBirdland+Everybody+Needs+Somebody+509224

Everybody Needs Somebody
Don’t Hang On
Twin Sons
Shoot You Down (Acoustic)

Birdland – Sleep With Me

Sleep With Me was the highest charting Birdland single.  Rising to the dizzy heights of number 32.  It was there third single and is sometimes known imaginatively as EP 3.  The limited edition 7” featured Sleep With Me and Hollow Heart acoustic versions.  Probably in an attempt to gain some serious music credibility.  These songs do not lend themselves to being played acoustic, but at least you got a free button badge with the single.

Thankfully the widespread version of Sleep With Me, has the trademarks of Birdland at their best.  Not as frenetic as Hollow Heart, but still fast paced and charged.

Birdland : Sleep With Me

Sleep With Me
All Over Me

Birdland – Paradise

Not the complete anthology, but the rather fine single.  It is probably their most well known song, hence why it was used as the title of their anthology.

It was not well received by the music press, but it jumped to the top of the indie charts. All their singles went to the top of the indie chart.  It is a worthy follow up to their debut Hollow Heart, it contains their most violently energetic track which is White, the other b-side Rage has acoustic verses and a trademark thrashy chorus.

Birdland : Paradise



This band really rattled the NME. They were slated and loved at the same time. Birdland had matching peroxide blonde haircuts, which were like something from a cartoon. They certainly had their live set perfected, sounding not unlike the New York Dolls, Ramones and the Stooges. Gigs were frenzied power punk outings.

It was just great: I felt a bit like Joe Strummer seeing the Sex Pistols or something.
James Dean Bradfield, Manic Street Preachers talks about his experience seeing Birdland; ‘BestGig I Ever Saw’ NME, 10 September 1994.

Birdland were not as adaptable as the Manic Street Preachers. Their punk image became old hat, and if they attempted to do anything different they were ridiculed. The band were given a support slot on Janes Addiction uk tour in 1989, but are sacked after the first date. This sort of behaviour screams out punk attitude, and it was also a quick route to self destruction. Legal disputes with their former manager and Lazy records folding in 1992, led to the demise of Birdland. Although they did tour 1993 with a new rhythm section.

Birdland – Birdland

Shoot You Down
Sleep With Me
Don’t Look Back
Wake Up Dreaming
Rock ‘N’ Roll Nigger
Everybody Needs Somebody
Letter You Know
Beat Me Like A Star
She Belongs To Me
Hollow Heart