Posted by: will | February 26, 2008

Music Review – Birthmark


Birthmark “The Layer” (The Record Label)


As a member of Joan Of Arc and Make Believe, it is logical that Nate Kinsella has always taken a bit of a backseat to his cousin, frontman extraordinaire Tim Kinsella. Tim was of course in Cap n’ Jazz along with his brother Mike Kinsella as well. Mike Kinsella fronted the legendary American Football and now mans the helm of Owen. With all that to compete with, Nate would seem to be the forgotten Kinsella. However, his new project, Birthmark, might have you rethinking that whole notion. The Layer is a tremendous first effort.

Given Nate’s percussion background it is somewhat surprising that The Layer is not more centered around those talents. While it does show up heavily on several songs, for the most part Kinsella chooses to balance layers of electronics, keyboards and guitars instead. His compositions work to create an incredibly warm atmosphere across The Layer. While perhaps similar in tone to Mike Kinsella’s work in Owen, Birthmark is much more experimental in nature. The Layer perhaps recalls John Vanderslice in tone the most. However, Birthmark is certainly not lyrically based music. In comparison, Nate’s lyrics are often obtuse and difficult to decipher. Despite that, Nate Kinsella is able to balance it all and The Layer retains an inviting intimacy.

“On A Solitary Angle on the Confinement of Doom,” Nate’s labored scream sounds oddly like his cousin, Tim. And when listening to The Layer it’s impossible to ignore the Kinsella influence through it all. In reality, Birthmark slides perfectly into the middle of the Kinsella discography. Still, that does not make it fair to make those comparisons and to label Birthmark as just another Kinsella project would surely be a disservice. Nate Kinsella has created something entirely his own. The Layer is unique and breathtaking and any fan of inventive indie music should be excited to give this a close listen.

Genre: Indie/Rock

RIYL: Joan Of Arc, John Vanderslice, Aloha

Cumulus Stimulus


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