As a student at the Berklee College of Music, Josh Siegel told one of his professors that he was going to quit school, return back to Chicago and start a band. And this professor quickly replied: “don’t procrastinate.” As soon as Siegel returned to Chicago, he put up at a Craigslist ad seeking musicians to start a band. And in a remarkable turn of fate, drummer Ren Matthew, who was in a previous band that just ended, replied to Siegel’s ad, sharing a mutual love of early Dylan and Bernard Purdie, and others.
Naturally, Bailiff’s earliest efforts, including their debut EP, Mm Hmm owed a sonic debt to the blues and British Invasion-era rock; however, their full-length debut, Red Balloon not only included elements of the blues, but elements of Indian raga, new wave, reggae, funk and Native American chants. And thanks to the critical praise the album received from the likes of WXRT and others, the duo opened for Nada Surf, Dinosaur, Jr., JEFF the Brotherhood and others.
In 2012, Siegel and Matthew added multi-instrumentalist Owen O’Malley as a full-time member, and as a trio the band went into the studio to work on the material that wound up comprising their sophomore effort, Remise which will see an April 22 release. The folks at HearYa invited the band to record a live session, and this live version of “Lookin’ Away” reveals a song that possesses elements of heavy metal, prog rock and funk, meshed in a way that makes the song defy easy categorization – thanks in part to the incredibly tight musicianship of the band. It’s funky and yet you can almost mosh to it.
“Shake My Heart Awake,” the album’s first single is a slinky, seductive song that actually possesses an anxious, uneasiness at it’s center; after all, the song is essentially about a lonely man desperate to be loved and to connect to someone else. And on a certain level, the narrator of the song feels as though the object of his love may be playing him — and he only wants to know the truth. Somehow, this is a familiar sentiment for almost all of us.