Filed under: Issue 21 | Tags: Invisible Mustache, Issue 21 Home recording, Modest Mouse, Syracuse, The Beatles, You Cool Girl
Jumbo shrimp, academic fraternity, midnight sun, boneless ribs — the definitive list of silly wordplay is always changing on us. And Syracuse-based band Invisible Mustache have contributed another.
But the contradictions don’t stop at their name: Invisible Mustache, a self-described “home studio band,” don’t make a habit of performing live, and their artistically simple songs are riddled with complicated layers. Notably, none of the four members actually sport mustaches.
Brad Kelly, Kyle Mort and brothers Ham and Andy Wiechmann comprise the alternative rock band. Friends since middle school, the four stayed close through college, even supporting each other’s separate musical projects. Andy Wiechmann describes Invisible Mustache as simply a product of four friends hanging out and writing songs together for fun. “It just kind of happened. After a while we had a collection of songs and we just decided to put them together and make an album,” he says.
Having just wrapped their second album You Cool Girl, the band takes an unconventional approach to its musical identity: they don’t perform live. “This is still really for ourselves, for our own enjoyment,” says Kelly. “…The process of creating the music, writing clever lyrics and making something exactly as we want it is what drives us.”
Besides, even if they wanted to, Invisible Mustache could never effectively play their music live. Every song contains dozens of vocal and instrumental layers that would be impossible to translate onstage.
Fan pressure is causing the group to rethink its philosophy, however. They are working on how to create an acceptable acoustic set and might even perform a few local shows over the summer.
Despite their complicated recording process, Invisible Mustache keeps the focus on one thing: the melody. “If something is in there that is distracting from that, I’ll take it out,” says Kelly.
A mix of pop-like, sing-along choruses and witty songwriting, Invisible Mustache is all the easiness and familiarity of 1960s rock ‘n’ roll with more intricate instrumentation (think what might happen if The Beatles met Modest Mouse). Every track offers background layers of manipulated effects and hidden melodic lines that change the focus of every song with each listen. It’s a complicated simplicity (oxymoron intended).
This year will be a busy one for Invisible Mustache. Between figuring out how to play their music live, selling their second album on iTunes and starting the demo process for a third full-length release, it might be tough for them to find time to grow their own mustaches. But that’s alright with Wiechmann.
“Invisible Mustache is almost a way of life, living as if you had a mustache, and having the confidence that comes along with having one,” he says. Burt Reynolds would be proud.
— Olivia St. Denis