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Mimicking Heads 

Arcata's Naïve Melodies is the closest thing to seeing the Talking Heads


In the '70s and '80s, New York art pop group Talking Heads, led by iconic mastermind David Byrne, established themselves not only as one of the most innovative bands of their time, but one that would inspire the work of others for decades to come. Some more directly than others.

Enter Arcata, California band, Naïve Melodies.

While bands like Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem can trace the genesis of their music to the influence of Talking Heads, Naïve Melodies have tapped directly into the source—their aim is to specifically mimic the music of Talking Heads, making every live show an authentic tribute to their favorite band. Sold out venues wherever they go are proof they do a good job.

And with their act on the road again, Naïve Melodies will play Dojo in Bend on Thursday, Dec. 5.

Naïve Melodies take their name from the Talking Heads' song "This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)." And though their show lacks the production realism of The Beatles tribute band Rain, or Who's Bad, the long-time touring Michael Jackson act, Naïve Melodies' music is still a doppelganger for the New Wave giants. Lead singer Matt Engel's vocals are a great match for Byrne's unsteady tenor, and their stout artsy synth rock turns every show into an 80s dance party.

Of course, the Talking Heads were also a tribute band of sorts themselves. As influential as their music has been, the artistic nature of front man Byrne manifested itself by bending bits and pieces of well-known genres into a cornucopia of sounds that yes, emerged as a new direction for music, but also never did quite mask its origins.

As a result, the Talking Heads ended up with hits that could easily be classified under a more specific influential genre rather than New Wave, Art Pop or the much larger alignment simply with '80s music—a category Naïve Melodies is happy to have as a label.

Naïve Melodies

10 pm. Thursday, Dec. 5

Dojo, 852 N.W. Brooks St.


Here are some of the best Talking Head songs and the genre they actually belong to:

"Totally Nude—Calypso

"Burning Down the House"—Pop

"People Like Us"—Country

"Love -> Building on Fire"—Baroque

"Memories Can't Wait"—Rock

"Crosseyed and Painless"—Acid Jazz

"Found a Job"—Funk

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