Birdy Bardot‘s sophomore slayer of an album expands the west coast soul vibe boundaries of her previous release to fully embrace every niche of America.

Is opening with “Either Way” an homage to one of indie-Americana pioneer Wilco’s finest albums, or is it merely a coincidence that this very vibey track launches us comfortably seated, seat belts partially fastened toward the odyssey into which the subconscious dichotomy exists in the good ‘ol United States of America? By now, we should know what to expect from the seasoned veteran musicians that makeup this block of The Redwoods Collective: Jake Najor (Drums), Al Howard (Lyrics/Production), Matt Molarius (Guitar/Production), Josh Rice (Keys/Songwriting), Jason Littlefield (Bass), Dillon Casey (Guitar) and Daniel Schrarer (Keys). These highly-talented gentlemen truly have pioneered the Stax sound of San Diego, while generating a groove unique to our landscape of waves, sand, and funky privilege.

“You read my fortune, you read my fortune, you read my fortune and got it wrong…” The lyrical lashing yelled on Track 2 from Ms. Birdy Bardot sums up where I thought this record was initially going to go.  “Fortune” is a fiery song (already previewed on the radio signals by 91X) that breaks Birdy out of her west coast comfort cage and commands the attention of any listener.

The rest of the tunes on Birdy II feel like a 2-day tropical volcano hike: many highs, and just a couple of low valleys surrounded in the mystical aural humidity.  One of these low valleys is the chorus on “Only Need You to Love Me” which borrows a bit too much from the Supreme’s classic “You Keep Me Hangin’ On“.  There is nothing wrong with paying homage to Diana Ross and the other queens of soul, but I say let’s bring it into the 21st century!

On a more positive note, “Slowly Know Me” gorgeously combines the classic Zeppelin pastiche of “Rain Song” and the psychedelic siren edge of Deap Vally’s “Royal Jelly“. I want more!!

Towards the end of “Birdy II” the loyal listener is awarded with a timeless folksy singalong that might as well have been the offspring of a ménage à trois comprised of June Carter, Johnny Cash & Janis Joplin. This heartfelt Americana chug-a-longer “Black Mirror” is a masterpiece and wonderfully harmonized by Birdy and fellow Redwoods’ angel Shelbi Bennett of The Midnight Pine.

Overall, this album showcases the vocal range and sonic maturity of Birdy Bardot set to the fantastic feel of the Redwoods’ rhythm drivers Jake Najor & Jason Littlefield. I am hopeful that the next record will deliver more risk, drama and stimulation! But a las, Birdy Bardot is cage-free, all-natural and an artist you will fall deeply in love with on second flight!

Til the next odyssey, fellow seekers of the aural light!

REVIEW BY: Craig Schreiber