Oklahoma City indie-rock act Gum intends to stick around for a while 

click to enlarge TRAVIS PIERCE
  • Travis Pierce

Time is a precious commodity. So often in music, a stretch not spent actively recording, releasing and touring behind an album is viewed as time wasted, an interrupted cycle indicative of fading attention and a waning spotlight.

Oklahoma City indie outfit Gum cherishes time just as deeply as the next, but its members would rather spend those precious moments mapping out a final destination than running in circles.

And that has meant time spent bonding, practicing, growing, studying and evolving. It has taken five years to reach the point at which they feel comfortable enough in their skin to release their eponymous debut record, and the wait — as long and excruciating as it felt at times — is what made that possible.

“I don’t think we were always sure who we were as a band, at least not earlier on. It’s part of the journey, and a lot of that is self-discovery,” frontman Joe Bello said. “To get the opportunity to grow together as a band and mature, it’s been special. Band development is something that’s been lost with how fast things happen these days.”

Though the relationships that comprise the band are lifelong, Gum’s first practice sessions occurred just over half a decade ago. Bello was joined by his brother and guitarist Levi Bello, along with cousin and drummer Sam Bray. The other two members — bassist Taylor Dragoo and keyboardist John Baber — have known the others as early as middle school, and at this point, the two are as tight as the ones sharing bloodlines.

“Even if they weren’t direct family in the beginning, it definitely feels like it now,” Joe said.

The sound is shaping up as those bonds grow tighter, too. The broader indie-rock sound of Gum’s 2011 EP, Make It Sound New, was narrowed to a restrained take on sleek alt-pop — indebted heavily to Spoon, Television and Brian Eno — on the recently released 11-song effort, which was recorded at Bell Labs Recording Studio with Trent Bell over the course of two years.

“It’s not just a collection of songs,” Joe said. “There was intention behind the record. We put out something where the songs can stand alone, but together, they create a bigger picture.”

The big ideas behind that bigger picture tie back to the band’s very own story — how life never turns out how you expect. But just like the subject of the album, Gum — playing Friday at Blue Note and Saturday at Opolis — is feeling good about its chances, having already written enough material for a second full-length record they hope to have out in a year’s time and finally feeling ready to pick up the pace.

“It’s about growing older and some of the expectations of what your life would be not playing out as romantically as you might hope,” Joe said of the self- titled record. “There’s an undercurrent of disappointment, but the character in the record keeps trying even though it looks like it’s not working. So in that, there’s hope.”

Gum with Heavy Glow and Helen Kelter Skelter

9 p.m. Friday

Blue Note Lounge

2408 N. Robinson Ave.




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