Birds Over Arkansas – “Sunflower” – Single Review
I feel like I’ve been waiting for this moment for a very long time…hoping that Birds Over Arkansas would return to these pages of ours and my speakers with some brand-new music. Turns out I was the one not paying full attention – we last checked in on them back when they put out their single “So Much Sky” in 2016, nearly five years ago to the date at this point in September, and somewhere in that same year, they also snuck in another single called “The String” that I somehow missed. Two years after that, in 2018, the put out a cut called “Can’t Exist” and I missed that too! Consequence of being the kind of guy that sits here and clicks actual files in his spare time, as opposed to streaming online for the most part, outside of whatever it is I’m commenting on at the time…I’m old-school that way I guess. While that’s still about three years since last they appeared before this brand-new single called “Sunflower,” and even longer since we last featured them on this site of ours – I honestly don’t know what else to tell ya other than exceptional quality like this is always worth the waiting. It really don’t get much better than Birds Over Arkansas – feel free to quote me on that; this band has always sounded 100% special to me.
That’s a really longwinded way of saying I am absolutely STOKED to have them back in action.
As I pushed play on “Sunflower,” I was immediately reminded of just about every reason I love this band so very, very much. YES it’s true – I missed a few singles along the way – but if you were to search Birds Over Arkansas on our pages, you’ll find that I have celebrated their music in some way, shape, or form throughout the years continuously. I still proudly play the older tunes, because in all honesty, they create music that’s completely built to last. I wasn’t in what I would say is a state of doubt surrounding my pushing of play…but at the same time, it seemed like it had been so long since the last – could they be as amazing as they once were? I’m not even kidding when I say they’ve set the bar high – read my review on a previous single they released called “Forgotten Lights” – I haven’t re-read it myself, but I stand by every word you’ll find…I know how I felt about it then, because I still feel exactly the same way about it now.
With the delicate acoustic guitar joined by their warm, comforting vocals – Birds Over Arkansas instantly go to work in charming the ears right off your face with “Sunflower” – and as with many songs I’ve listened to with this band, believe me when I tell ya, things simply go on to get better & better from there. All I could find myself thinking, was that if THIS was how good “Sunflower” sounded at the start, how stunning was this going to become by the end? And then it eventually hit…that sweet transition around the 3:15 mark pushed what was already an absolutely incredible song to all-out spellbinding proportions that soar through the finale. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was with the band being as reliable and incredible as they’ve ever been as those first three minutes played with such gentle precision, passion, and professionalism…but that final twist still made the impact it was intended to, even on a guy like me that assumed they’d continue to raise the stakes even further as the surged to the end. The level of execution and HEART in the songs of Birds Over Arkansas is second to none – and they prove that without question on “Sunflower,” giving you that outstanding display of instrumentation you know & love in the band, and remarkably poetic lyricism that’s as uniquely endearing as it is evocative through the way they sing it. A perfect combination of harmonies and exceptional vocals at the heights of it all, Birds Over Arkansas have expertly rounded out every corner and paid attention to the finest details from their performance to the production…you feel the nostalgic reflection of the roots in this songwriting reach straight out to your soul, and the main hooks of “Sunflower” bloom and blossom right inside of your heart. Impeccable! Warm bass-lines and crisp drums in the rhythm section, the melody from the mandolin adds an exquisite layer of immaculate, graceful sound to this new single, and the guitars bring a noticeable dose of personality to liven it up through the solo you’ll find mid-tune. The main hooks of the chorus…with the absolutely award-worthy performance being put in on the microphone in this duet up front…I gotta say…it’s gonna be tough to say that they don’t steal the show in how they sing this song together…I think they brought out their very best, and brought out the maximum potential of “Sunflower” as a result of their efforts. All-in-all, there’s simply nothing BUT the beautiful surrounding you…music, vocals, melody, writing – you name it, it’s all here, and it’s all perfect.
While it’s true that absence does make the heart grow fonder under the right circumstances & all – don’t get me wrong, I’m aware of it, acutely. The reality is, even if I hadn’t known just how amazing Birds Over Arkansas had already proven to be in the past, I’d still be every bit as blown away by what I’ve heard here on “Sunflower” – this is all the proof you’d ever need to know that real quality tunes take time, but that at the end of the day, they’re also the ones that are most worth waiting for, and genuinely hold up over the years to follow. As much as I’d love to have me a new Birds Over Arkansas tune every second week for the rest of LIFE…I get it…I understand…I respect the process…and I’m willing to wait, no matter how anxious or demanding I may appear between a then & now situation. “Sunflower” exceeded my wildest hopes for how that next experience with their music was going to be – there’s simply no argument to be made otherwise – they’re completely at the top of their game once again, and making pure magic. I’ve heard a lot of incredible songs in 2021, and there’s not a doubt in my mind “Sunflower” is one of the best I’ve listened to this year – this single is as brilliantly designed & stunningly memorable as it is audibly mesmerizing & sweetly enchanting – Birds Over Arkansas sound completely gorgeous, and have created another absolutely timeless tune…they’ve knocked it straight outta the park once again, 100%.
Find out more about Birds Over Arkansas from their official website at: http://birdsoverarkansas.net
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