Missing Sibling is indeed a straight-ahead ragged-pop band committed to the health and longevity of loud, fuzzy guitars, bashing cymbals, and floating, yawning vocal melodies. But frontman Drew Gabbert, bassist/backing-vocalist Todd Walker, and drummer Josh Hoover are also the leaders of a mini-movement. Their collective-mindedness is right there in the title song off their kickass forthcoming sophomore recording, Spies.
As guitars ring and roar and cymbals crash, a chorus shouts, “My friends and I!,” a surprise burst that’s quickly followed by Gabbert, singing in his distant, affectless voice, “have been given / Too much rooooom to run.” And again: “My friends and I! / Have been told / That we’re the chosen ooooones.” And while we’re not sure who told them that, we can pretty much pinpoint said friends. Members of the group playfully referred to as The Sibling Collective include Missing Sibling, gleeful rocking-pop stylists The Diabolical Machines, and Meredith Dobbs, a Brooklynite-via-North Texas who’s been writing songs with Gabbert for placement in TV and film for nearly a decade.
“We are trying to uphold a strong one-for-all/all-for-one communal vibe, which is really what the band was founded on,” Gabbert said. “Instead of being insular in a time when it’s easy to do so, find your missing sibling, long-lost close friends you may have never known were there. Come together and achieve great things as a group, y’know? Everybody pitches in, and everyone reaps the benefits of strength in numbers equally.”
The Sib Collective’s first major manifestation of the group ethos was The Diabolical Machines’ recently released sophomore effort, Get Scrappy! Like that album, Spies was recorded at Gabbert’s home studio in North Richland Hills. Doing it yourself (so to speak), Gabbert said, is convenient in more ways than one. “It’s nice to wake up, have some coffee, and then record vocals in your pajamas if that’s what you feel at the moment,” he said. “We also didn’t have to be concerned with the clock, and we could make our own environment to create in. … Personally, I enjoy laboring over [the record] and making things just so.”
Spies is not nearly as sonically polished as Pick a Family, Missing Sibling’s debut outing, a five-track EP recorded with in-demand producer Will Hunt at his Spaceway Productions downtown. The songs are, though. Polished, that is. Bombastic and smooth, they’re told mostly from the perspective of a suburban outsider who also happens to be a poppy, rock-influenced singer-songwriter/tech-head with equally talented friends. Just like Gabbert. “To me [Spies] sounds like the soundtrack for latchkey kids in striped tube socks jumping off the couch before their parents get home from work,” he said.
Missing Sibling is about to shoot a video for the track “Balloons” with filmmaker P.J. McGuire, who did the Sibs’ first video, for the Graduate-influenced song “Keep Strong Boy” off Pick a Family. “Making these videos with P.J. is one of the most fun parts of being in the band,” Gabbert said. “I look around and see people getting in swimming pools in February and being covered head to toe in filth just because of a song we wrote, and I find that rewarding and fun!”
Along with pumping out more Sib Collective records, Missing Sibling wants to get out and play. “We believe strongly that when in front of the right audience or a large crowd we can really turn some heads,” Gabbert said. “It’s a big kind of sound. It’s not shy, cute indie music.”
Missing Sibling’s next show is Saturday, May 3, opening for Quiet Company at Three Links in Dallas. Spies comes out on Tuesday, April 15, a.k.a. Tax Day. How suburban.
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