Jealous of the Birds | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
NON-COMM Recap: Jealous of the Birds continues their breakthrough year
Many artists live by the philosophy of creating the music that they want to exist in the world, but few do it in such a striking way as Jealous of the Birds. Northern Irish songwriter Naomi Hamilton has been making music under the moniker for a few years now, but each song we hear from Jealous of the Birds feels like a fresh new discovery — and anyone who was hearing the band for the first time today undoubtedly felt like they were experiencing something special.
Folks who attended last year’s NonCOMM music meeting may remember hearing a glimpse of the arresting single “Plastic Skeletons.” The song, which is not quite like anything else and not immediately accessible, is congruous with Hamilton breaking out of her local music scene in Northern Ireland and carving out an indescribable genre of her own. Since then, Jealous of the Birds has gone on to release two new EPs, The Moths of What I Want Will Eat Me in My Sleep and Wisdom Teeth, which show the depth and range of Hamilton’s songwriting ability.
Jealous of the Birds played a quick but dynamic set this afternoon, showcasing songs from across their quickly growing catalogue. Driven by her love of language, Hamilton’s lyrics are intricate and poetic; musically, you can detect influences from Irish folk to psychedelic rock. The sharp edges of “Plastic Skeletons” bleed seamlessly into the sweeping folkishness of “Marrow.” With her slicked back hair and laid-back demeanor, Hamilton makes it look easy, but her songs aren’t necessarily easy to listen to — hearing them once will only make you want to listen again and again to try to understand what the artist is getting at. If stopping you in your tracks and make you dig deeper is the intention of Jealous of the Birds, it’s working quite well.