Liverpudlian trio Exploring Birdsong are a beguiling bunch; eschewing the now-normal guitar-bass-drums-vocal format for voice, two keyboards, bass and drums, they deliver a sound that is reminiscent of many of the more interesting corners of the rock world, without enslaving themselves to any of them.

Vocalist Lynsey Ward is the hub of the operation, her arresting singing giving form and substance to what are often quite sparse musical arrangements, especially of you’ve grown up on a diet of Dream Theater and Symphony X. There are elements of metal within Exploring Birdsong; the clanging, percussive piano playing is often reminiscent of green metal dulcimer mayhem of nutjobs Botanist, for instance, but for the most part, despite being saddled with a ‘prog’ tag, their music is actually often more in line with great English singer songwriters like Joe Jackson (especially bonus track Deliverance)rather than, say, their Scouse compadres Anathema.

That said, the multi-voiced, Eastern-tinged vocal nirvana of The Baptism could easily be something from the pen of a Kavanagh, and it’s also easy to see how Exploring Birdsong have already crossed over to appeal to the rock audience. This is music of substance, both lyrically and sonically, and there’s plenty to get the teeth into. On top of this, the band have already found a degree of notoriety for their A cappella take on Blue Öyster Cult‘s Don’t Fear The Reaper, so of course they’ve piqued the interest of the old rockers here at Sentinel Daily

Best track The Downpour –  swirling maelstrom of Amy Lee and Tori Amos, with hints of Kate Bush – is a jaw dropper, and leaves the listener eagerly awaiting more; If the band has further material of this calibre up their sleeves then we might well be on to something rather special. But for now, just enjoy this rather splendid little amuse bouche by way of introduction. I’m sure Exploring Birdsong will be with us a good while yet on the evidence of this.

The Thing With Feathers is out now…