with James Roquemore
& the Knots
9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3
The Plaza Theatre
To note that Orlando’s Cassandra Wilcox and Artie Burer are a real-life couple doesn’t simply observe a detail; it hits the raison d’être and defining angle of their two-piece band Wilbur.
“Beyond just our music, we have this whole presentation – the fact that we’re a couple and we’re in love and we’ve got these songs that we’ve written about our love and we’re a two-piece and we’re doing this together,” says Wilcox. This manifest drive to share with the world something so personal could be a suspect thing – tooth-rottingly twee at best, supremely indulgent at worst -– if it weren’t for the verdant earnestness of the two 22 year olds.
Dubbed Wilbur by merging their surnames, the boyfriend-girlfriend indie-pop band formed in October 2009. Erstwhile church kid Burer and Midwestern refugee Wilcox crossed paths at local coffeehouse Natura, where they each played and cut their teeth as musicians. They began working together as members of a collective of friends called the Sometimes Band. Although the vibe of the group was lax and informal, Wilcox says, “Me and Artie would just dive into these songs.”
“We were just writing stuff off the bat pretty much,” says Burer. “And now we’re going with it because we know that there’s something there.”
And so they incidentally, organically found themselves in the great boy-girl two-piece band tradition with a lo-fi garage-pop sound that’s like a scrappier, quirkier version of early Beatles with a modern indie bent that even occasionally rises into riot-grrrl swells.
Now, in less than a year, Wilbur is on the booking roster of local artist-management group Monster Nature alongside luminaries like Mumpsy and Bananafish (of which Burer is also a member) and set to introduce their debut, U & I. A completely DIY affair, the seven-song record is self-recorded, self-produced and self-released through their website (www.wilburbabies.com).
“Behind the developing sound is a developing idea,” says Burer of their particular approach. “And it’s a very ancient idea. It’s something that everyone goes through, and it’s love. And behind all the music and all the sound, there’s the love that we write together with. And it’ll take all kinds of different shapes and forms because we always have to be completely open to it and completely honest with it.”
To establish perspective, Wilcox says, “I don’t want to paint this picture that, ‘Oh, we’re in love so everything’s perfect.’ Well, it’s not. Sometimes we can’t write together because we’re pissed off at each other. But that’s real.”
Besides rapidly crystallizing songwriting, what makes the focus on their personal relationship compelling may just be that it’s built to accommodate evolution and range, even possibly a breakup.
“At the same time as developing our own relationship in whatever natural way that comes about, we’re becoming better musicians together,” says Burer. “And if it ever comes to the point where our musicianship has to be in our lives, whether or not the other person needs to be in our lives, I think that’s something that can still continue.”