Let's call Futurebirds' sound countrified psychedelic indie rock. Showcasing pedal steel, banjo and guitars, this is definitely related to and inspired by country music: The ever-so-slightly-de-tuned strings, the distant plunk of a barroom piano. But layered as it is with lavish reverb, nasal vocals, scratchy chords and four-part harmonies, it sounds more like country's strange, cool cousin.
At times this six-member outfit is reminiscent of Band of Horses, especially on "Via Flamina," off the EP of the same name. At other times, that comparison fails utterly. "Wild Heart" is a repetitive yet remarkably effective tune that soars over a train-rhythm of chords, asking again and again, "Where is reason? Don't blame it on me, blame it on my wild heart." It inspires the listener to forgivable brashness and freewheeling impulses.
A product of the Southeast's mini music-mecca, Athens, Ga., this young band has been making quite a name for itself touring with the likes of Widespread Panic and the Drive-by Truckers. They've only released one album, Hampton's Lullaby, and two EPs, so their future remains to be seen. It's a good start.
Futurebirds plays the Palace Thu., March 1, at 9 PM with locals Airstream Safari and Skeeterhawk. $5.