BRITTLE BONES could have been one of those bands with too many cooks in the kitchen. With every member contributing songwriting duties, those myriad influences and personal tastes could have clashed, resulting in uneven, unfocused, and unsettling sounds. However, the Portland four-piece have stuck to a recipe for short, two-minute-long indie rock morsels that are flavored just right, baked up quickly, and served fresh, before they have time to get stale.
What's surprising about Brittle Bones, who only came together six months ago, is how dialed in they were with each other. But of course, the band already had some creative history—singer/guitarist Tasha Trasher had just moved back to Portland from North Carolina and started fleshing out songs with her former Heart Beats Red bandmate Mike Angell. He then brought in his former Skeleton Coast bandmate Steve Gevurtz, who was working on songs with Margaret Johnson. From there, Brittle Bones was fully formed.
According to Trasher, splitting up songwriting duties among the bandmates hasn't been as difficult as one would imagine. "I definitely love that everyone contributes. If I wrote all the songs they'd sound the same," she says.
That collaborative spirit and laidback energy has allowed the band to pool their influences and channel a common thread, as is evident on their new self-titled full-length CD. Brittle Bones is a time capsule of the mid-'90s indie rock that started sprouting up around Chapel Hill, and what was already blossoming in Olympia. There are loud/quiet rhythm dynamics that get coated with crunchy guitar distortion, and slightly pitchy harmonies filled with optimism, fronted by Trasher's Liz Phair-meets-Ida vocal inflections. It's indie rock at its purest and sweetest, and it's over before you know it.
The initial run of Brittle Bones will come in a booklet handmade by Trasher, retaining the DIY ethos of the band. "I feel like it represents what our music does, too. It's not super professional. But we're not super professional people to begin with." At least they know how to share the kitchen.