The annals of rock’n’roll are filled with the also-rans: those who failed to capitalise on an early opportunity presented to them. The Glenn Goldsmiths, Cuban Boys and Plastic Bertrands of this world made an early promising start before they came out with that second single or first album to find that nobody was listening any more. One of the most regrettable additions to that list was Birdland. A handful of singles, a mediocre album released when their moment had passed and some energised gigs would be all that remained.
Robert and Lee Vincent from Tamworth (near Birmingham) were in a band called Zodiac Motel that purveyed teen psychedelic pop (I am paraphrasing the fansite, never having heard them), who made one album before gaining Simon Rodgers (bass) and Neil Hughes (drums), changing their appearance and becoming Birdland.
Their debut EP on Lazy records, Hollow Heart (FF 1989 #28) elicited this response from Sounds:
As far as debut discs go, this ranks among the all-time greats. Notice how I’ve refrained from citing either The Ramones or Stooges as obvious influences. In comparison to Birdland, both bands are positively girly.
June of that year saw a Peel session, but there were signs that hubris was already rampant. Paradise (FF 1989 #40) drew a hostile response from previous supporters Melody Maker:
When Birdland get round to writing a decent song, they might make a third-rate Buzzcocks, but don’t call me. The next person who tells me I should see them live gets it in the ear.
The album did not follow until 1991, and by then it was all over bar the shouting. Regardless, these two songs are adrenalin-filled magic, and a reminder of unfulfilled potential in the face of the twin onslaughts of Madchester and grunge.