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Photo: Doug Schwarz

It doesn’t take more than a minute or so into Defining Times’ new record, Separate Tongues, to sense the intimacy, closeness and trust the Oklahoma City alternative band members must feel for one another.

You’d think they’d been playing for a decade, not a year and a half.

“It’s a brotherhood,” front man Chase Kerby said. “Everything is collaborative. We’ve found the direction we want to go.”

Its pieces realize the work and dedication needed to make the whole — more of a lifestyle than a band — move beyond Oklahoma’s borders, and Tongues might do just that. It’s the sentiment of four musicians who have seen other bands they’ve been in come and go, and an urgency to not let the same happen here.

Joined by guitarist Alex Coleman, drummer Albert Roubert and bassist Michael Trepagnier, lyricist Kerby plotted the seven-song EP dot by dot, then connected them just as they set out to.

“It’s like having a goal in mind and achieving it exactly how you planned,” Kerby said.

Said Coleman, “The writing came easiest. When anyone came in with an idea, it seemed to gel into a finished song in a week or less. The opening song came together in about five hours.”

But the final product is nearly a year in the making, with each note executed to perfection. It’s a big, emotional and moving piece, stylistically inspired by My Morning Jacket, The National and Radiohead, and emotionally inspired by steady turmoil.

“It’s the past three years in my life,” Kerby said, “the big changes I’ve made and the people who have come and gone in and out of my door. It’s going through this series of things and coming out on top and understanding what all the moments and realizations really meant.”

The emotion is palpable, exactly how Defining Times envisioned it.

“I’m excited to put out a record other people can maybe attach to emotionally like we have,” Kerby said. “That’s the best part of straightforward, honest music.”

Added Coleman, “This is the most honest thing I’ve ever been a part of. This record … it’s almost like we are self-conscious about it, being so bare.”

Plans to shop the disc in New York City are set for next month, but no matter what comes of the trip, Defining Times rests easy, knowing that it’s defined itself with Separate Tongues.

“No matter what, it’s going to be something that people can respect,” Kerby said. “Even if it’s not their taste, given the amount of time, energy, sweat and heart, you can feel went what into this.”

“We combed over every little detail we could to make it what it is,” Coleman said. “Our hearts are in and on this record, for sure.”

Joshua Boydston

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