Not Bird Brains
Brothers Caleb and Ashton Bird, who comprise the Carbondale, IL stoner garage rock band, Tweak Bird, do one thing—and that one thing very well. Actually, that’s not entirely true. They do many things, but blend them in a way that feel seamless and cohesive. And they do it over and over again. Undercover Crops, their latest EP, flies the ’60s-’70s flag, but each of its seven songs has a different flavor, even if the variances are subtle.
Such subtlety does’t apply to opening number “Moans,” however. Two minutes of hearing a computer-like voice (the Bird bros., with effects) repeating “everyone is paranoid” over random sound effects and bouncy synths, and you begin to believe it. The next song, “People,” brings us back to the kind of music Tweak Bird has been producing since 2008: simple grooves, raw but smooth guitars and Ozzy-on-helium vocals, all with an undercurrent of psychedelia. “Weight” offers a guitar triad that mellows the drums’ heaviness. The song is brief, but it makes all the difference. Raconteurs-style harmonies in “Know It All” are unlike anything else on Crops, even though the music is consistent with the other songs (two chords, a couple riffs, a stop or two, frenetic drums).
Another strength lies in their wit and sense of humor. “Lots of things will happen / Most will be imagined,” they sing on “Psychorain.” “Bunch O’Brains” starts with “He’s got a fucked up brain,” and migrates into “He’s got a bunch of brains / Too bad—he ain’t using it.” They say so much so simply, which is yet another way to describe Tweak Bird’s lean and effective music.