by Walter Price
Ft. Worth has never come to mind when I think about cool indie rock n roll. Never has really, then recently, this reality has been changed. The outfit is called Missing Sibling and they have a lot in common with the late 8ß’s and into the 90’s alt movement greats. Pixies, Smithereens,hints of the more sprawling Sonic Youth offerings, a salting of Toadies and well, choose one of you favorite college bar bands of that era that become legend and this 5 piece (Drew Gabbert, Stephanie Buchanan, Todd Walker, Josh Hoover & Kevin Buchanan) celebrates the heritage in their own North Texas way. If you’re from TX you’ll get my drift.
Missing Sibling have a new self titled album coming out this April via Idol Records (Old 97’s / ADMIRALS). First listen I am taken back to my nights pouring myself into Dallas’ Deep Ellum trying find that fuzzy guitar sound that would keep the heart’s tempo just right as I tried to drink till the morning light…The album is a well written and crafted foray into sing along hit worthy tracks all the while telling introspective tales (possibly in third-person) that do harken back to the days when you could be a little off center and radio still loved you.
Vocalist Drew Gabbert had this to say about the overall album, “Every song on the record has a chorus. The biggest, most over-the-top choruses we could make. Bands don’t seem to put much emphasis on writing choruses people can latch onto these days. Style is chosen over substance. We’re out to correct that while maintaining a unique sound of our own. The songs on this album go much, much deeper on a personal level than anything we’ve done before. Previous records of ours were more commentary on observing the world.
“This album is observing one’s self and cutting down to your own bones. However, it’s written in a way that the songs can be taken and used by the listener for their own purposes. We labored over these songs endlessly and did as many takes as was needed to make sure every performance was exactly how we wanted, every vocal inflection was as intended, every lyric was perfectly placed to our liking, and every emotion was translated clearly through both the instruments and vocal equally. It was an immensely creative, fun, and cathartic experience that felt like a true bonding of five people in a room hoping to bond with others we are yet to meet.”
TRACK x TRACK
“Always” — Feeling unable to be happy for others, like a creep. Sometimes it’s hard to be supportive of others when you never have support yourself. An instant sing-along feel to it. Dynamic building and release of the instruments has a very therapeutic feel to it under the lyrics. Sometimes you’re just an asshole and you have to realize it. Either resign to the fact and be a miserable dolt, or try to improve. That feeling of meeting a personal precipice is reflected in the production of the music.
“Don’t Even Try” — People growing up with a set ideas of how their life should be or will be. Come to find out, sometimes other people have all the luck and that’s life, but letting go of the wheel and letting things just happen can bring better results instead of being rigid with plans. Some parents bloat their child’s expectations of the world and then they don’t know what to do about it when they grow up. “But I thought I was special! I’m mommy’s little prince, my life is supposed to be magical!” Oh, you poor thing.
“Never Alone” — The most personal and deepest emotional song I’ve ever written. It took me weeks before I could listen to the demo without crying and being able to show it to anyone else in the band without losing it. In simple terms, its about the feeling of being a burden to others and the anxiety that comes with that. Keeping personal struggles to yourself will fucking kill you if you let it. Loved ones are there to help, not hate.
“If You Quit” — This song has a dog toy solo in the bridge. The drums fucking slay on the bridge. All about the tension and release. If the rest of the songs on this record live in a red hue, this one leans more into purple. There is a certain density to this song that is juxtaposed to a real bittersweet vocal. It’s about having others view you as a destructive personality when all you really want is peace and harmony, everybody else is up in arms and worried about you, but you know everything is OK. It’s putting others at ease. It’s a good companion to “Never Alone.” Almost a “part 1 and part 2.” One of my personal favorite sections of the record is the second verse of this song.
“I insist” — Steph makes her debut with singing lead, doing harmony verses with Todd. After writing it, we knew it had to be that way to capture the proper feel. This song pushes and pulls and goes through different “scenes.” In the mix and master phases, we emphasized the verses being a band in another room, then for the chorus everything runs up to the tip of your nose. Lulled into a false sense of security and naivete reflected in the lyrics, into the pointed real life “get to the point, wake up, this is now” feeling of the chorus.
“Mary’s Rashers” — I was in Europe with my now wife, then girlfriend, and I was sick as hell. We stayed with her Aunt Mary outside of Dublin and she would make “rashers” in the morning (kind of like ham/bacon) that I looked forward to, to fuel my ailing body for the day of adventure ahead. We were there to do what we wanted and I wasn’t going to be stopped by a fucking fever. Sometimes it feels like there is a faceless force out there trying to keep you from accomplishing your goals or enjoying life. Karma, the world, cosmic energy, whatever it is, and you have to plow through and whip its ass. No time to sit in the corner moaning and wishing things were different.
“A Set of Working Lungs” — Nobody gets excited anymore. Everything you want to see is at your fingertips, so that takes out the chance of being genuinely surprised by something spur of the moment. “Oh, that widget? I saw that online, I’m over it.” The downfall of knowing too much. Apathy for everything.
“Color Inside the Lines” — The synth has a ton of movement to it and it really makes the song go. We were all in the room with Kevin [the keyboard player] tossing ideas and messing with his new analog vintage-style synth. It was the end of the night and it turned into a really fun, true group effort to make it as interesting as it is. Kevin loves the pitch-bend button (you hear this effect in the bridge) and subconsciously has to always thrust his hips every time he hits it. Hilarious. The timbre of this song feels like the musical equivalent to avocados. Vivid, natural, vibrant, and at first it seems hard but turns creamy smooth once you chew it over a little bit. It expresses an urge to move forward, overall a positive and necessary step. Mental toughness can get you where you want, you just have to know when it’s your opportunity to run.
“Shock and Awe” — Feeling stagnant. Effort is pointless. The same one who is selling you the dream will never let you achieve it. The good people of the world are always dreaming of more, and a better day yet to come. The ones with control obsess over how to keep you fucked over, no matter how you try to overcome it.
“Spread the Blame” — A very pointed and intense song about problems facing our country. It gives us chills to play it. Going from the verse to chorus snaps like a rubber band. I was watching Fox news and all the presidential race stuff as my muse, just to get the juices flowing in the middle of the day, then I snapped. It was quite apparent how out of touch baby boomers are with the younger generation and what it’s like to be raised in the modern day. “Why don’t you get a job, you bum?” says the one who perfected the creation of things like “the unpaid internship.” It expresses anger toward those who wish to be, and take pride in being, divisive rather than harmonious. Around election time it seems like it’s all about kicking people in the face and making sure you get yours before you work together.