Best of What's Next: Little Tybee
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
Members: Brock Scott, Josh Martin, Nirvana Kelly, Ryan Donald, Pat Brooks
Album: Humorous To Bees
For Fans Of: Grizzly Bear, Venice Is Sinking, Lost in the Trees
Bees fascinate the members of Little Tybee. Not because of their oft-misunderstood nature or because they share a portion of their own name with these pollinating insects—what draws this Atlanta-based act to the hive are the inherent complexities found in the way bees live and work together. “I think they would find our attempt at community humorous, just because they’re so interdependent,” guitarist Josh Martin explains. “We [as humans] pride ourselves on independence.”
While Little Tybee attributes its recent associations with the hive as more of a symbolic obsession, the band also draws inspiration for its own musical process from observing their colonial counterparts. Its latest album title, Humorous To Bees, not only alludes to the societal complexities that these creatures innately hold as a species, but also reflects on the band’s approach to their creation of their sophomore record—an effort that finds this Atlanta quintet taking a gorgeous step forward as a cohesive unit.
Despite the instrumental dexterity and musical insight that Brock Scott, Josh Martin, Nirvana Kelly, Ryan Donald and Pat Brooks possess, the members of Little Tybee rarely outshine each other, striking a delicate balance that’s greater than any of its individual parts. For instance, Martin intuitively understands both the physical and theoretical intricacies of the eight-string guitar, yet remains content to fit into the ecosystem of Little Tybee’s sound.
That same natural balance applies to the rest of this Atlanta orch-pop ensemble. Scott’s vocals walk a fine line between a light-hearted falsetto and a quiet roar filled with a certain sense of conviction. Kelly and Donald lace each song structure with respective violin flourishes and supporting bass lines. Brooks not only offers an understated yet essential fusion of latin-jazz drumming, but also headed efforts on this record’s production, meticulously molding and manipulating each part of Little Tybee’s sound into a sonically spacious and textured-pop landscape. “The main difference is that we have the core structure—the five of us,” Scott adds. “Once we had that, we could establish solid structures for songs and little things in the writing process that are hard to write on the fly.”
In just two years since flashing their potential on their debut LP Building A Bomb, Little Tybee has fully transitioned from being a band in flux to a tight-knit outfit pushing its creative limitations in the studio. In their march forward, these musical beekeepers now have a tendency to add auxiliary musicians that at times double the size of their act, builinding up their orchestral colony. “I think it’s always going to be evolving,” Scott says. “It makes things really interesting.”