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AAA Music | 30 November 2020

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Tweak Bird – Tweak Bird

| On 16, Aug 2010

And so the quest for the name that gives the least clues to musical style continues with Tweak Bird’s self-titled offering. You would be forgiven for assuming that Tweak Bird are another twee indie-folk wittering, but this could not be further from the truth. Right from the first granite-hard riff of album opener ‘The Future’, Tweak Bird are a distortion-pedal stoner metal band of a very high order, as every possible riff grinds and pounds to the rhythms of driving cymbals in a mesmeric fashion, leading to a lurching outro of heavy guitarwork and tumbling percussion. However, the vocals are what sets this apart from many similar bands, a kind of tuneful wail that I can’t find an easy comparison to, except perhaps early Gene Loves Jezebel. However, this provides depth to the sound on offer as the light vocals and thundering instruments blend together almost seamlessly.

‘Lights In Lines’ owes a heavy debt to Led Zeppelin, chugging along like Motörhead covering ‘Whole Lotta Love’, slowed down and amped up, as the riffs shift from one to another like seismic plates, bringing along one perfect headbanger after another, leading onto the one-minute maelstrom of progressive metal that is ‘Round Trippin’, where reverse effects and space age noises twist the music around over itself into the fadeout.

The next track ‘A Sun/Ahh Ahh’ feels like a new start, as the concrete guitars, constant cymbals and high vocals weave another psychedelic track. The rhythms here are tight and shift effortlessly between halting rock chugging and flowing riffs, leading to the second half with a saxophone melody that is folk in the most feral fashion, more much more Wicker Man than Nick Drake, before the metal creeps back in with swirling drums and heavy guitar.

‘Beyond’ is another decidedly metal track, with riffs layering on top of one another and some truly admirable speed-drumming, all topped off by the cloying vocals. The album’s gift for rattling off two songs as a pair rises again with the perfect lead into ‘Tunnelling Through’, where the guitar work rises above subsonic rumble for a moment to spark manically through the roar of distortion. There is a tantalising yet sparing use of dynamic variation in the music here, although very much loud, the instruments fall back during verses and pre-chorus to allow for the vocals to sing brief stream-of-consciousness lyrics over the top. The bridge/outro once again showcases the ferocious ability of both guitars and drums as they almost duel with one another to the track’s close. Once again, ‘Sky Ride’ kicks off anew, possibly as the album’s closest thing to a coherent song with a recognisable structure, before sinking into an echo-drenched slowdown as the closer.

‘Flyin High’ is another typically stoner rock deal, bringing to mind Jane’s Addiction at their most psychedelic, and deploying a flute to provide the solo over the unstoppable, mesmeric song being played all the way through.

And finally, bringing it all to a suitably hazy and heavy closure, ‘Distant Airways’ gives us dreamy vocals and some surprisingly jazzy saxophone over the constant flowing guitar/percussion backdrop, before the whole sound seems to spiral into self-destruct in an implosion of musical noise.

It might be my perpetually sober and early-morning state that stopped me from fully appreciating this record, and I’ll admit that towards the end my attention did begin to wane. However, this a valiant and largely successful attempt at a brave and interesting sound that in places does indeed earn the right to call itself experimental rock.

Author: Katie H-Halinski