Birds of Passage – Without the World

Without the World is a vulnerable and fragile pool of emotions, musically and lyrically. Alicia Merz treads ever so softly through glorious minimal compositions scattered throughout the record with a soft-spoken but hard-hitting set of vocal chords. In this day and age it is a struggle for an artist to present something unique, something new and fresh – on this record Alicia exudes the fragility of the human condition in a number of ways while maintaining her own sound.

This sound is more often than not a culmination of sorrowful drones, found sounds, field recordings and, when used, sparse instrumentation. In fact, the most straightforward track on the record materializes in Fantastic Frown, a clean guitar stroked throughout compliments Alicia’s double tracked soft-spoken alluring voice.

The best thing about this release is how it rewards careful and attentive listening. Pray for a Sunny Day is a soul-destroying 6 minute epic that seamlessly drifts on a bed of air carried by the desperate lyrics,

Maybe it will be better

in the morning

Pray for a sunny day

What have I done,

Innocence gone

You forgot the letter

You forgot the letter

Coupled with a ominous descending drone, the agony is found even more so in the delivery of the lines rather than the content as Alicia’s voice at times quivers and secedes half way through a word further highlighting the fragility of the content.

In Heal subtle reverb adds poignant accents to the ballad where Alicia displays her strongest vocal work on the record. From my interpretation there is a plea for a loved one to acknowledge the ability of a significant other to provide comfort and peace. It is worth highlighting that just because some may call this music ‘minimal’, and I sure do, that it is not lacking any substance or diversity. The music rewards close attentive listening. Most of all, its ability to leave the listener feeling vulnerable and fragile, even broken is testament enough to Alicia’s ability in translating emotions effectively and accurately.

If you would like a physical copy of the album you can pick it up in vinyl, cd or digital format from the Birds of Passage Bandcamp Page, be quick, there are only a few left!

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