RECORD REVIEW: Percolator – Man is Not a Bird, 2007

– by Brian Wiebe


The relationships we have with music are as varied and complicated as the ones we have with people.  Sometimes a song or album is love at first listen—swooning as I hit repeat for the fifth, sixth, seventh time—enraptured in immediacy.  Other times, the relationship takes a little while to develop.  Maybe I haven’t heard the album in the right setting, or maybe I haven’t heard it enough, or maybe I just didn’t understand it right away.  But I keep listening until eventually a deeper respect forms because of the piece’s slowly unraveling mysteries and complexities.  Percolator has managed to do both.  Man is Not a Bird is an album that had me from the get go, and then kept growing on me.

Man is Not a Bird falls under the large banner of “indie” music, and yet it manages to avoid the more obnoxious “indie” signifiers–the morose warbling, the fashionable apathy, the poor me and my existential crisis angst.  I enjoy a lot of music that has these characteristics, but I want to have fun too.  This album is a lot of fun, and it manages to do so without losing a bit of complexity or sophistication.

The album contains an abundance of dichotomy in both form and content.  Percolator has three songwriters with three distinct voices, and yet it is hard to know where one ends and the other begins.  The guitar work intertwines clean and distorted tones seamlessly.  The song “Prepared for Disaster” has a somber tone that contrasts with the uplifting lyrics.  “Safeward” is the tale of a bored sadomasochist.  “Svelte on the Veldt” pits two musical personalities against one another, and then depicts the musical melee that ensues.  These collisions of contradictions reward on repeated listens.

Percolator has crafted an album with a wide variety of ideas and sounds.  In the hands of lesser musicians, Man is Not a Bird may have been a train wreck, but in their more than capable hands the album is as cohesive as it is versatile.  Anyone can listen to Man is Not a Bird for FREE at, and everyone should.

By Todd Jacops

In-house Graphic Designer for Passion Works Studio. Co-founder and volunteer for art and music collective Aquabear Legion. Living in Athens, Ohio.