The Birds of Satan

The debut album by Birds of Satan, a side project of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, sounds like every LP from Hawkins' teenage record collection playing at the same time. He and his bandmates – who also play with him in another side project, Chevy Metal – dabble in Queen-style operatic choruses, Cheap Trick power-pop melodies and a whole lotta Led Zep boogie. Hawkins even channels the jazz-fusion drum break from Run-DMC's "Peter Piper" in "Thanks for the Line." That sort of eclecticism is both the best and worst thing about Birds of Satan: While its seven songs all go down easy, they can also feel like sensory overload. Lead track "The Ballad of the Birds of Satan" stretches over nine minutes (and features guest appearances by fellow Foos Dave Grohl and Pat Smear), with more twists and turns than a David Lynch movie. Then there's "Too Far Gone to See," which begins with a "Dream On"-style harpsichord intro and ends with an unexpected synth dirge. Birds of Satan is a memorable and often exhilarating listen – but with so much going on in the space of half an hour, you can almost hear Hawkins' life flash before your ears.

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