Label: Souterrain Transmissions Release date: 30/08/10 Official Site Buy: Amazon Tweak Bird is a band of brothers. Well, only two but it’s never been enough of a deal to stop them from making a helluva lot of noise. Their debut EP Reservations was actually very good, showcasing guitarist and singer Caleb Bird’s Geddy Lee-esque wail over Ashton Bird’s thundering drums that at times channelled the likes of The Melvins, Queens of the Stone Age, and similar stoned rock bands, albeit with a decidedly more pop-oriented bent in place of the metal or hard rock angle often associated with those acts. So now here we are almost two years later, and now their self-titled debut LP hath been unleashed. But maybe it should’ve been an EP. Nothing here is as striking or urgent as the songs on Reservations, both a benefit that allows the band to focus on experimentation and a downfall that taints the disc with a lack of punch and energy as expected from the duo. 'Round Trippin’ is a disappointment, beginning with a promising redux on the 'Lights In Lines' riff but with much larger balls. Then the whole fucking song just jumps into reverse with no warning or reason, as if this were Strictly Personal. 'Hazement In The Basement' is a similar failed experiment, this time using field recordings and quiet drums that are seemingly stolen from 'Sun' by The Microphones – and all this to delay the genuinely enjoyable slow burning groove of 'Flyin’ High'. But really the problem here is that everything feels too slow. Opener 'The Future' sounds like it’s 15 bpm too slow for the band, so when “Lights In Lines” moves along at the same tempo, it feels like the album is on a lock groove. Hell, even the third actual song 'A Sun/Ahh Ahh' is about the same tempo, although spared and ruined by a break into eastern modes with a Dick Parry-lite sax solo added for flavour. The flavour of something bad, like really old watery natto or a Limburger covered piece of dogshit falafel (which may be more accurate, given the modality of this section). It takes literally half of the album for the songs to actually move, but 'Beyond' is tragically short – only 2’00” – but gives way to the much needed heavy reprieve of 'Tunneling Through,' the only song that actually seems to remember their first release enough to use the blueprint laid out there for good. It’s noticeable that the back half of this release is densely packed with songs that sound like Tweak Bird instead of Tweak Bird. ‘Sky Ride’ even manages to turn the formula on its ear nicely by incorporating use of fade and ritardando instead of cold stops. Of course, being the old traditionalist I am, I’ll always favour Reservations due to its unbridled energy (probably what drew in Dale Crover to produce). The problem here is that Tweak Bird seem so focused on moving towards a new sound that they forget their old one, but because it’s the same equipment and people it will always sound indebted to that first incarnation. This shift is too sudden with too little reward as the result, instead showing a band who cares more about moving in a polar opposite instead of naturally going with their inclinations. Photobucket