CD Review by Adam Wujtewicz
One of the many things for purchase during Hygienic's opening weekend was The Weird Beards debut EP... a 4 song ditty with the old lineup, the lineup that included OB on mandolin and does not include their current drummer. The production team on this record is a veritable who's who of New London music. The recording itself was done by Hugh Birdsall of The Reducers and was mixed and mastered by Paul Brockett of the Paul Brockett Roadshow.
For such organic instrumentation; baritone ukulele, standup bass, acoustic guitar, mandolin and percussion, there is quite a bit of studio trickery. There are some backwards vocals and also vocals with digitally manipulated pitches. There is a cool loop intro at the beginning of "Patriot Act" as well as some ping pong panning on the ukulele and mandolin. These kinds of things work well with The Weird Beards' psychedelic gypsy nature.
The songs on the EP; "With a Lime", "Weird Beard", "Patriot Act", and "Beautiful Eyes" are super clever lyrically and all the songs are completely different topics. This gives you a really good view of the pallet that Brian Skidmore, lead singer and baritone uke, is working with to paint the landscapes of his songs. The canvas of this record is the three musicians who are able to keep Brian’s dreamlike visions afloat with their expressive riffing.
While not exactly a sing along record there are a bunch of gang vocals that add a little bit of fullness that can sometimes seem lacking with an all acoustic band. This is no singer songwriter pop BS either… the instrumentation and song structure removes it quickly from that category. This not your average folk - The Weird Beards may actually be from outer space somewhere, but the songs are easy to listen to for the educated musical ear. For anyone who has seen them live you know Brian’s vocal acrobatics and the jammy-ness of some of the songs can lead to them lasting a while. Both of those things have been pretty much cut out… leaving the real gold of the songs to shine in three minute intervals. This is a super worth-while record for the alt-folk enthusiast.
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