Single: Rockpool Dramas – Birdbath

A wound need not be massive to really sting. Sometimes the smallest incision cuts unusually deep; and so it is with Birdbath, a song by Amsterdam’s Rockpool Dramas, whose name alone suggests a band that takes satisfaction in stories about minutiae in the spotlight and who loves a watery metaphor.

You could swap a band name for a song title with no corruption of meaning. The titular Birdbath of this song is an arena where a seemingly small, even trivial moment holds a deep, emotional significance. “Deep like a pool, small like a bird bath”, the band’s leader, Stanley Ward, sings, having spent some time submerged in thoughts and memories. “Think about her, think about the past”.

Songs about the aftermath of a breakup always have a high chance of winning me over, for some reason. I guess because they carry such potential for harbouring strong currents of emotion – nostalgia, elation, regret, bitterness, forgiveness, self-pity. Breakups are so shit, but they’re a good sobering moment. When you’re suddenly alone it’s like being dumped in a forest. There’s nothing to do but apply the bandage, try to walk out the other side.

Rockpool Dramas sound great. They started up as a one-man band in Sheffield but, after Ward moved to the Netherlands, they have coalesced into a tight and fluid four-piece with Ward’s convincing, bruised, sincere voice driving this piece of energetic indie-rock storytelling, which is by turns reflective and detached. “Am I easing the pain or am I just busy?”, he asks, “What would it be like if you were with me?” before landing on a memorable ‘ah wooo” chorus line which is the song’s most surprising and ambiguous feature – a moment of radio-bound surefootedness that I’m not sure quite resolves the lovely, inquisitive thoughtfulness of the lyric.

At times, you see, Ward sticks a pin in some really memorable images. The last line is really bright and vivid, Ward visualising the birdbath – the receptacle for his tumbling emotions – as an “Infinity pool, spill[ing] out into the ocean” – a concept that might lead to a stream of really good songs in the future. I hope so.

Written by Jonathan Shipley