Ahead of a September/October tour with legendary sludge-punks The Melvins, Illinois brothers Caleb and Ashton Bird have released a new EP of synapse-frazzling psych-metal.
The songs are short and sharp, often coming in at less than three minutes; a welcome surprise amidst a genre which tends to favour widescreen wigouts over pop sensibilities. Not that there’s very much pop about the circling, repetitive ‘Moans’, a strung-out piece of weed humour matched to swirling psychedelia. ‘People’ hits like Perry Farrell fronting Crack the Skye-era Mastodon as Caleb rants ‘So many people in the world, I don’t wanna be one’. The tongue-in-cheek ‘Bunch O’ Brains’ opens on a repetitive two chord riff, lulls you into a false sense of security with a few seconds of silence then explodes into life once more.
A great strength of Tweak Bird is that even in short bursts they still sound massive. Ashton’s drums sound like someone ramming a bulldozer through a forest whilst his brother conjures up gigantic Sabbath-like riffs up-front. Reviews of their 2010 debut tended to focus on the jazz influences, possibly in a bid to make it appear palatable to a more indie audience whose interest in anything metallic doesn’t really extend beyond pre-distressed Iron Maiden t-shirts from Topman, but even with those influences mostly absent here there is no denying that Tweak Bird offer a thrilling ride.