Waterfall is a new album from Fish in a Birdcage (the musical project of Dustan Townsend). First off, I simply cannot stress enough how good this is. Stylewise, it’s like if you blended indie pop/folk with something more classical. It almost reminds me of the kind of music you’d hear in a classic animated musical or an Olympic figure skating championship.
The songs are primarily vocal driven, and Dustan Townsend is a phenomenal singer. You won’t find a bunch of autotune or smoke and mirrors on this release. Brimming with sensitivity and humble charisma, this guy’s voice is one that could breeze through even the most intimidating theatrical audition. The best way I could describe it is that he sounds like a more refined Jack White. He also plays the mandocello or cello on these recordings, which partially accounts for the album’s classical ambiance. It’s also worth noting that talented artists like Kristina Helene, Thomas Kinzel and Moritz Behm contribute stellar vocals as well as some violin to these recordings.
It’s hard to believe that Townsend wrote Waterfall while living in a 33 foot bus he refers to as “Stanly the Adventure Bus,” as the album sounds so professional and flawless that one might be forgiven to assume it was made with a one million dollar budget in a platinum plated recording studio. The songs themselves are indeed magical and exciting, exploring themes that are reflective and delicate. The vibe is brimming with imagination and a child-like sense of wonder, while at the same time demonstrating mature musical prowess. While most of the tracks organically ethereal, fantasy quality, songs like Rule #21 Momento Mori have more of an exotic, rhythmic character. I highly recommend checking out the stop motion animation video (embedded below) for one of the the artist’s previous jams, Rule #4 – Fish in a Birdcage, which perfect encapsulates the spirit of the music and is quite frankly a masterpiece.
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