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Tweak Bird

Any Ol' Way

(Let's Pretend; US: 27 May 2014; UK: Import)

Tweak Bird, a band made up of brothers Caleb Benjamin and Ashton Leech, know how to knock out some psych-rock hooks. Any Ol’ Way, the duo’s new record, is full of the kind of bluesy, punishing riffs Sabbath made famous, but Tweak Bird injects them with a youthful playfulness. The album is at its best when it runs down musical rabbit holes, like the unruly wah effects and spacious vamping of “Mild Manor”, or the tumble-down chorus on “She Preach”, or the shuffling propulsion of “Inspiration Point”. These moments show the band able to be both tight in their playing and experimental in their textures. Any Ol’ Way is the kind of record that needs space, that invites wide-open playing and listening, so it’s a shame so much of the record cuts that off. “Weird Oasis” barely gets its desert-pop wobble off the ground before it ends in under two minutes. “Peace Walker” is a more blistering affair, but its two and a half minutes also leave the song feeling too hemmed in, and narcotic closer “Sunshine” feels transcendent at first, but when it repeats the title phrase and cuts out in two minutes, it ends up just feeling exhausted. Any Ol’ Way is a record of promise from a band that has clearly found focus. But its overreliance on tight structures nips too many moments for expansion in the bud.


Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.

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