Radio Birdman - Zeno Beach

Fans of the Birdman, unite! There's new music afoot! Their first album in 25 years has recently been unveiled and heavens above, it's the real deal.


Zeno Beach brings together Radio Birdman members Younger, Tek, Masuak, Hoyle and Dickson with You Am I drummer Russell Hopkinson for 13 tracks bristling with the energy and urgency of old.


Self-funded and dedicated to the memory of one-time bassist Carl Rorke (who died earlier this year) Zeno Beach kicks off with the ruckus of 'We've Come So Far (To Be Here Today)', and continues its early-punk inspired way through 13 solid tracks befitting of the bands revered reputation. Other tracks of note are 'You Just Make it Worse, If You Say Please' and 'Locked Up' (which is possibly the most reminiscent on Zeno Beach of the early Birdman recordings).


Vocalist Rob Younger is sounding as good as ever and the energised rhythm section anchored by Hopkinson (clearly relishing the opportunity of the gig) drive each song like their lives depend on it.


Although the band are calling this their most collaborative effort to date, Deniz Tek is still very clearly the main writer of Birdman material. Tek is credited with writing or co-writing 11 of the 13 tracks, although this album includes two tracks (including the title track Zeno Beach) by keyboardist Pip Hoyle.


Speaking of Tek, how many musicians can also claim to be ER doctors and Navy pilots? None that I know of, that's for sure. Tek works as an ER doctor in Montana when not touring and while serving in Hawaii was the Navy pilot whose call sign Iceman was appropriated by screenwriters for Top Gun. Amazing, but true.


After a meteoric rise to infamy that peaked in 1977 the group split in 1978 after a gruelling UK tour and a run of bad luck with management and record company dramas. To everybody's surprise Radio Birdman reformed in 1996 for a series of shows (including the Big Day Out) that were relished by fans and critics alike. They have continued to perform sporadically across Australia and Europe in between Younger's work with the New Christs since then.


Radio Birdman is currently touring Australia (July and August) before heading to the USA and Europe to promote the album overseas. Zeno Beach is out now and available through Shock.

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