Biirdie -- Jared Flamm, Richard Gowen and Kala Savage -- points out repeatedly that Morning Kills the Dark was conceived when Flamm was housesitting for producer supreme Daniel Lanois. What the band doesn't tell you is that it was recorded while Flamm, Gowen and Savage were dangerously addicted to Van Morrison and Sebadoh records, joints laced with PCP and California sunsets. The result is an album that can be as gorgeous as it can be a little schizo: Picture-perfect production values frame everything from blue-moon crooners ("Kala Lynn") to Ween-in-a-tunnel, swaying toasts ("Open Letter to Jenny"), Phil Spector beats ("The Other Side of Sunset") and lo-fi Tom Waits confusions ("California Is Waiting").
Beautiful, worrisome, contagious, subtly twisted. With Morning Kills the Dark, Biirdie has made a sleeper being noted at this very moment for year-end lists and road-trip car tapes, indie-film soundtracks and group shut-in lost weekends.