Led by the bespectacled and talented songwriter C. Gibbs (a.k.a. Christian Gibbs), Brooklyn-based combo Lucinda Black Bear deserves attention and praise. Released last fall, the band’s debut Capo My Heart and Other Bear Songs (Eastern Spurs) is a swirling collection of atmospheric pop with clever maturity that stands out against some of the softer sounds percolating in the indie-rock underground.
“Capo My Heart started out kind of as a solo record, but then it evolved,” says Gibbs. “I had a lot of songs already arranged and recorded at home, so that was where it started. Some of the final tracks were from those original tracks — before the band even came together.”
Gibbs, a native of San Diego who made his way to Brooklyn by way of London, started with a batch of home recordings — mostly minimal sketches of guitar-driven songs with sparse percussion. He added some drum parts, a bit of bass, and a dash of strings before enlisting friends from the Brooklyn pop/folk scene.
The core of the band features bassist Mike Cohen, drummer Kristin Mueller, cellist Chad Hammer, and violinist Clare Burson.
“In Charleston, it’s the same band that played on the record, although Clare is not with us on this trip,” says Gibbs. “We tend to rock out a little more live, even with the soft melodic songs. We try to mix it up a bit, playing some songs almost exactly like they are on the album, and jamming out a bit more on others.”
On stage, the band operates from a delicate foundation. Gibbs’ songs are already natural and comfortable, and the group maintains airy and fluid backing. The relatively quiet style allows Gibbs to sing more dynamically.
“I like the falsetto voice, but my more baritone speaking voice comes out once in a while,” says Gibbs. “With this band, in particular, it feels natural. If I’m not competing with loud guitars and big SVT bass cabinets, I’m able to sing in a higher register. That was one of my frustrations with other rock bands in the past — having to scream over everything.” —T. Ballard Lesemann
Lucinda Black Bear shares the stage with Zach Fowler & The Essentials on Thurs. Aug. 28 at 10 p.m. at The Village Tavern (1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., 843-884-6311). Admission is $6. Visit www.myspace.com/lucindablackbear and www.village-tavern.com for more.