Birds of Passage Passing Through


After a couple of weeks of spring sunshine it was a slightly grey and fresh morning that welcomed Alicia Merz ( aka Birds of Passage) and her partner Christian to meet me for a coffee in the Inn the Park (sic) cafe in St James’ Park in London.

Just back from the tour with Her Name Is Calla they both looked a little weary from zipping up and down the European motorway network from Belgium to Germany, Poland to Austria, Czech Republic to France and thence back to the UK ( the route may not be dead accurate but you get the idea – a long schlep across Europe)

Her first trip to Europe since she was a little thing I wondered how it had all matched up to her expectations. Perhaps not surprisingly at the fag end of the tour the most immediate memories are those not of tourist highlights but hours in an ageing minibus. But the experience seems to have been largely a good one playing to diverse audiences in vastly different countries.

Birds of Passage music cannot be the easiest to pitch to an eastern European post-rock crowd. The subtle and delicate vocals laid like gossamer over the reverb laden musical sub structure, demands attention and respect. Christian confirmed that on occasion he had to tell some people just out for a natter and a drink to shut the f*ck up. Mind you this is not an infrequent problem these days it seems to me.

Three or more weeks away from their three year old son is a tough call but in a twinkling they will be back in New Zealand again. The plan is to follow the Denovali re-release of Without the World with both an EP and a full album later this year. A prolific output means that there is already enough recorded material to ensure that this can become a reality ; a swift spot of mastering and mixing and there she will be.

It sounds as if the EP will be first up and likely to centre around the sumptuous Highwaymen in Midnight Masks the demo of which is up on the Soundcloud page

To my regret I couldn’t get to hear any of the live shows, but let’s hope the extensive motorway experience doesn’t put Alicia off and we might see her back before too long – maybe some nice intimate spaces where her ethereal music can be heard to best advantage?

Pic courtesy of Alicia Merz FB (cos I was too foolish to take my own…)

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