Tweaked? A Little
Stoner rock is back. Bands like Melvins are still slogging along, godfathers of the genre Sleep are reforming, and Los Angeles-via-Illinois band Tweak Bird is dropping its self-titled debut album. Utilizing the underappreciated “power duo” format, brothers Caleb and Ashton Bird, on baritone guitar and drums, respectively, bring us a tight thirty minutes of pop-influenced and spaced-out fuzzy grooves.
Opener “The Future” sets the pace and tone of the album, with lyrics like “Don’t look now / The future’s coming / In our minds, we are the chosen ones” rolling on top of a punishing pentatonic riff. “Round Trippin’” makes creative use of the backwards effect, in which the brothers record a 36-second song, then append it in reverse to give us a 72-second song. Unfortunately, the record’s lead single “A Sun/Ahh Ahh” hits a minor snag when a saxophone comes out of nowhere and proceeds to hang around a bit too long, but we can forgive the brothers for this when they bring us “Tunneling Through,” arguably the album’s best moment.
The Birds’ sound definitely takes a cue from Melvins, whose drummer Dale Crover co-produced the album, but there’s also a hint of Welsh proto-metallers Budgie. There’s even an unexpected taste of Morphine, with the surprise saxophone returning on the closing track to great, and welcome, effect. And, of course, there will be inevitable comparisons to retro-metal contemporaries like The Sword and Wolfmother.
Tweak Bird may not be reinventing the wheel here, but who cares? They’ve attached said wheel to their own custom vehicle, and used it to tunnel straight through our minds to deliver a concise and enjoyable half-hour of stoner-pop.