What started out as an experiment in songwriting has blossomed into a productive creative outlet for Bagheera, a husband-and-wife duo from St. Louis.
A few years ago, Theodore Moll, the drummer in MU330, a popular underground ska/punk band, decided that it was time to start playing guitar and writing songs. He got a four-track recorder and started messing with it. His wife, Heather Dallape, joined the fray, and soon they were writing tunes together, recording them, and burning CDs to share with friends.
One of those friends was Mike Park, owner of Asian Man Records, a low-key, high-profile one-man record company that handles the distribution of MU330’s catalog. After hearing the song stylings of our happily married couple, Park agreed to release a CD of the music if they rerecorded it in a real studio. The outcome was Twelves, a fresh, thoughtful selection of songs brimming with strong vocals, vibrant harmonies, and peculiar lyrics.
The duo’s fascination with science and nature shines through, even in the titles of the songs. With “Isolation in an Accelerating Universe” hanging out with “Shape vs. Concentration (Within a Vacuum)” and leaving room for “Bulb-changer” and “Solstice,” you get the feeling we’re not dealing with empty-brained knuckleheads. Then comes “Long Division,” a terrific collage of buzzing noises and whirling sounds set off by naked guitar lines leading to the opening line of “Thinking over what you said like pulling teeth from an empty head.”
As far as I can tell, the couple never even mentions long division, but who cares? The song has a musical gravitational pull the size of a small planet. Last fall the duo began filling out the sound with the addition of a bass player and drummer. So far the group has played mostly in the St. Louis area, with a few trips to cities around the Midwest. At the end of May they crossed the Atlantic to gig in merry old England, playing at punk shows, festivals and local bars. This weekend marks their first appearance in Springfield, so support good family values and go take a listen.
Bagheera plays Viele’s Planet, (126 E. Jefferson St., 217-525-9029) Saturday, July 23, with Resident Genius and Tall. The music starts at 10 p.m. and goes until 2 a.m. or so.