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Disguised as Birds’ Dueling Rock

Apr. 17, 2009
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"Fully Bonded," the opening track off Disguised as Birds' 2008 rock record Seeds, epitomizes the band's dual singers' lyrical cohesiveness. Not only do the dueling Christophers, Chris Chuzles and Kris Endicott, harmonize concurrently throughout most of the record's tracks, they also collude on song crafting duties as well.

"We'll both have our own ideas about how songs should sound," Chuzles says. "We're both writing melodies; we're both coming up with ideas in our heads. There's often disappointments when one person comes with a finished idea first and everything you've done gets cast aside."

This synergy and openness leads to more textually complex, layered songs, he says, instead of one unequivocally clear ditty.

"[The lyrics] could mean one thing to one person and another thing to another person and still be side by side in the same song," bassist Tony Ciske says. "So, a batch of lyrics [Chuzles] writes and a batch of lyrics that Endicott writes can mean different things to them but still work within the framework of one song."

The two vocalists write about distinctive topics because they obviously lead differing lives.

"We have songs that [Endicott's] singing about his daughter and I'm singing about-I don't know-women in my life," Chuzles says. "I can't relate to family life like that. So, we're definitely going to be writing about different things but in the same theme."

The quartet's albums went through gastric bypass surgery from its 2006 self-titled album to last year's Seeds. Drawn out improvisational jam-rock riddled Disguised as Birds, a 50-minute marathon with all but two tracks pushing the five-minute mark. Seeds relies on a punchy bass, distorted power chords and scraggly shouted harmonies, sounding like a toned-down Drive Like Jehu. Seeds is the post-op Star Jones or Carnie Wilson; all the self-title's droning excess is shed for tighter, sprier melodies.

The weight loss won't end there, however, Ciske says. The group plans to further trim down with their forthcoming five-song EP New Demons, which will consist of three- to four-minute tracks.

"With these songs there was a concerted effort to make it focused and strong, just really straightforward," he says. "We wanted to write some songs that weren't nine minutes long… and still had some elements of openness and space."

Both Seeds and New Demons-which should be out in the next coming months- were produced by Call Me Lightning drummer Shane Hochstetler at his Bay View studio, Howl Street Recordings. In February, Hochstetler even filled in at drums for Kevin DeMars when he was unavailable for the show.

New Demons contemplates growing older and facing multifarious problems, Ciske says. Metaphorically, those are considered demons. But the title also embraces the fact that they have new tracks to unleash onto the world.

To say the band recorded New Demons quicker than Seeds would be a gross understatement. Seeds took a year and a half in the studio, New Demons took four days.

"With Seeds we thought we were going to be in and out in a weekend," DeMars says, but boy was he wrong.

"It was the Gilligan's Island of recording experiences."

Disguised as Birds play Cactus Club, 2496 S. Wentworth Ave., at 10 p.m. Friday and The Exclusive Company in Greenfield at 6 p.m. Saturday.


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