Bird’s Mile Home 

Family Portrait

Local trio Bird’s Mile Home reminds me—old-timer that I am—of Missoula bands gone by, particularly the goofy cowpunk group Vi Thompson Overdrive. Not that Bird’s Mile Home is goofy. In fact, they’re dead serious rockers, but they share a particularly Western sound with bands like VTO—a noise deriving from equal parts narrative-driven melodic punk and cowboy strumming.

Family Portrait, the new EP recorded at Missoula rock factory Club Shmed, offers four fine songs full of angst and lyrical specificity—and also a hint of “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” Keith Moore plays clean, strong guitar backed by a loping rhythm section worthy of Johnny Cash. Timmy Arrowtop plays bass and Jesse Naab handles the drums. The songs are neither too slow nor too fast and intense enough to feel like punk rock, while still allowing airspace for vocals that sound like a rough complaint to an understanding bartender. This combination of clarity and intimate roughness is part of that old Missoula feel, the product of a commitment to a lo-fi, DIY approach. Right now the EP format seems just right—long enough to dig the sound, too short to tire of it—but I’ll cheer the day they’re ready to go album-length.

Bird’s Mile Home plays a tour kick-off show at the Elk’s Lodge Thursday, May 21, at 9 PM, with Vera, Pebble Light and El Zombie Gato. $5.
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