Tweak Bird Tweak Bird Review

Released 2010.  

BBC Review

Leaves you mentally exhausted yet unable to wipe a goonish grin from your face.

Adam Kennedy 2010

One of massive marijuana intake’s side effects – short-term memory loss – has helped ensure that stoner rock has latterly come to resemble something of a played-out genre, outside a few notable exceptions not rehashing past glories. Nobody told perma-touring Illinois brothers Tweak Bird, though, whose self-titled debut full-length sticks hipster spectacles on the whole decibel-kissed shebang and takes it for a serotonin-stimulating joyride.

Accentuating the cheerier side of life while dispensing barnstorming riffs thick and surprisingly fast, baritone guitar-wielding Caleb Bird and drummer sibling Ashton essentially shoehorn the pop song format into something altogether heavier. And like a hippie-tripping take on Queens of the Stone Age before them, Tweak Bird are concerned with subjects far wider than stoner rock staples (read: cars, women, surfing, skating, smoking, drinking).

Helmed by production duo Deaf Nephews – aka Dale Crover and Toshi Kasai, respectively of sludgy west coast stoner purveyors the Melvins and Big Business – fans of those bands will find aural dot joining on Tweak Bird a fairly simple exercise. But the brothers are more interested in detonating an idea before moving onto the next, rather than aping various forerunners who let classic rock jamming excesses creep into proceedings. In fact, only two tunes here trouble the three-minute mark.

The Future inserts tongues in cheeks from the off, joyfully stating: “In our minds we are the chosen ones”. And it probably shouldn’t even take that long for the jigsaw pieces of their seriousness, or lack thereof, to fall into place. After all, the album cover features one motorbike, one blurred landscape, two bare chests and one native Indian headdress, evoking a deleted dream sequence from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Previous single A Sun / Ahh Ahh increases the glorious detachment, half steady space march, half saxophone-catalysed Mexican desert drug flashback, metamorphosing through shamanic chants into a climatic conclusion that cuts out instead of fully cutting loose. It’s a peak only rivalled when the sax returns on epic closing freakout Distant Airways, synapse-frazzling squeals finally dissipating into eerie ambience, leaving you mentally exhausted yet unable to wipe a goonish grin from your face.

- - -

Follow the BBC's Album Reviews service on Twitter

Creative Commons Licence This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. If you choose to use this review on your site please link back to this page.