Take a little bit of T-Rex and glam rock, throw in hints of Phil Specter’s wall of sound and top it off with a liberal dose of fuzz pedal and you have Chicago’s indie rock band The M’s.
Now get rid of the keyboards, the chunky electric guitars and drum kit and you’ve got the Cloudbirds.
The M’s have been making music since 2000 and have recorded a handful of records, but in 2009 they announced a "long hiatus" (the band released an album last year).
Guitarist/singer Josh Chicoine and his M’s band mate bassist/singer Joey King decided they wanted to try something other than a rock band and what took shape was a sound more reminiscent of California’s early 1970s Laurel Canyon scene and the Byrds with Gram Parsons.
This is music that has a down home folk-country feel, music that you’d want to hear on a warm summer’s night while swinging on your front porch — breezy and slightly rollicking.
Josh and King are joined on this project by latter day M’s player Glenn Rischke. Together the three harmonize in a way that recalls Crosby, Still and Nash, or in the case of the Cloudbirds tune “Feather and the Stone,” Jerry Garcia and company from Workingman’s Dead days.
The Cloudbirds don’t abandon the electric guitar entirely but it clearly takes on a different role in the context of the country-folk sound, sounding more like a slowed down Buck Owens at times.
I’ve always been a fan of the M’s sound but this new direction Chicoine and his pals have taken leaves me to pose this request to the trio: continue the M’s hiatus and allow the Cloudbirds to fly for a long time to come.