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Tweak Bird
Tweak Bird Tweak Bird
Released 27 August 2010

Dale Crover
Yoshi Yasai
Label Souterrain Transmissions
Length 27:34
Genre Rock, indie
Website www.tweakbird.com

Tweak Bird’s eponymous debut album comes two years after the duo’s Reservations EP was released. Of the seven tracks on that initial record, 'Shivers' garnered some cult credentials for the group when skateboarder extraordinaire Dennis Busenitz used it for one of his online skateboarding montages. A year later and the twosome were taking their fuzzy, driving rock sound on tour with prog-metal overlords Tool. Quite an eye opening year for “the brothers Tweak” one would imagine.

So to their first LP. Well that is if you can describe a ten track twenty-some minute record as a “Long Play” disc. Indeed it begs the question as to why their first seven track release was deemed an EP yet this effort only boasts three songs, and very few minutes more. At any rate, if you want to grasp the gist of what Tweak Bird are all about all you need is twenty five seconds of the album’s opener to be on the level. 'The Future' chugs its way through your speakers with a powerful opening riff, a forebearer of all that awaits you. The guitar sound is, without exception, always deep and fuzzy. The riffs are consistently based in major scales and chords. At times the guitar verges on the looping prog riffs so symptomatic of Tool’s work, but more often than not relies on a Sabbath like powerchord bonanza to keep your feet tapping.

Vocally Tweak Bird are a touch more unique. Not only for the fact that it is the drummer and not the guitarist who takes lead vocal duty, but that the vocals are delivered in an unusual, but not unkind pitch. In this department you could make vague comparisons to Cedric Bixler-Zavala from The Mars Volta, although Tweak Bird never dare to tread beyond, what seem to be, comfortable vocal pastures. Lyrically the album is quite sparse, but the predominant theme seems to be the search for, and enjoyment of alternate realities and escapism.

This perhaps could be the one area to be most critical of Tweak Bird the album. Musically it is very black and white and vocally it is written in straight lines. You could count the minor chords on the album on one hand and still have enough fingers left to finish a crossword puzzle. Risk taking is at a premium here. Which means that although it is quite an enjoyable listen, ultimately it can come across like musical fast food (without the addictive MSG).

Standout points occur on the album where the vocals hook your ear rather than simply filling space between riffs. 'Tunneling Through' is a great example of this as is 'Lights in Lines'. Both would be potential single candidates. Tweak Bird also achieve success when they break free from the boundaries of the two minute song to explore their progressive side a bit more. This unfortunately is solely reserved for the album’s strong closer 'Distant Airways' which perhaps illustrates the potential that lies within the musical duo.

Prog rock for the ADD generation? Possibly. Either way I would keep an eye on these two guys to see what they do next.

- D. Egan