In With the New
In 2012, the Carbondale, Illinois brothers Caleb and Ashton Bird released Undercover Crops, a delicious mish-mash of sounds all falling under an indie-sludge umbrella. Crops stood out from the crowd, however, because of the way the duo experimented as if trying to find their sound, but if you listened closely, their sound was right there all along. On their latest, Any Ol’ Way, it’s clear they figured out what that sound should be, and proved it with 11 tracks that are distinctively Tweak Bird compositions.
Any Ol’ Way starts out with the all-too-short “Weird Oasis.” At under two minutes, it’s a perfect introduction to the album and to the band. A meandering bass line ambulates underneath slightly overdriven guitars and an untrained, twangy, slightly high-pitched but welcoming voice. “Greens” continues the slow ride, taking the album in a heavier direction. “She Preach” increases the volume a little bit and adds some fun with the chorus “give me the beat/hit the street.” It’s not until “Peace Walker” that we see the up-tempo side, bringing to mind a combination of Cars and Sebadoh with some ’70s psychedelia mixed in.
The experimentation is kept to a minimum, and it’s done in a way that doesn’t interrupt the flow or seem out of place. “Builder” is some electronic noise that serves as a lead-in to the classic-grunge-esque “A Sign of Positivity.” The monotonous droning does get a little tedious in “Mild Manor,” making you wonder where the Any Ol’ Way is going to go next. “Next” is “Inspiration Point,” mostly instrumental track that doesn’t go anywhere much, but it does make you realize that Tweak Bird is writing their own rule book.
Any Ol’ Way ends with “Burn One” and “Sunshine,” stylistically mirroring the first two tracks, giving the album a palindrome-like feel. There may not be another band writing songs quite like the Brothers Bird — all at once unashamedly catchy, temporarily frustrating, and downright fascinating, making the album title ironic as there is nothing any or ol’ about what they do.