Four guys, a dozen instruments and a cyber front woman - that recipe comprises The Tickle, an instrumental band from Fayetteville, Ark., whose music touches on rock, jazz, pop, electronica and even classical. For three years, The Tickle has used traditional rock instrumentation to craft it's style of music, but interspersed with and often times tying the songs together is the computer-generated (and surprisingly sultry) voice of Crystal, the band's significant other. Like other bands, guitar, bass and piano arrangements put to rhythm lay the foundation of the music. What separates the quartet's catalog from others is the members' willingness to explore an array of time signatures, dynamics, chord structures and arrangements. 'The music The Tickle is making is like nothing I have ever heard before ... The music has a strange effect because it's soothing and energizing simultaneously,' music writer Genevieve Threat stated in the June 20, 2002, Fayetteville Free Weekly. Drummer Andy Dyer holds the reigns to Crystal and is credited with planting the initial seeds that created the group. Following the break-up of his former band, Figure Five, Dyer invited guitarist Aaron Aldridge and keyboardist Drew Terry, both from the defunct Les Pouchee, to play. Similar musical backgrounds translated to instant chemistry, but the trio lacked an anchor. Within months Terry's roommate, Chris Wilson, sat in on a couple of rehearsals and by February 2002 The Tickle was officially launched. 'Specific Ocean' (the first album) After several months playing together and developing tracks, the band traveled to Atlanta to record at Zero Return Studios, an all-analog studio owned and operated by members of Man or Astroman? The session resulted in The Tickle's debut album - 'Specific Ocean' - released January 2003 on the band's own label, Big Radius Records. Accolades and Originality The Northwest Arkansas Music Awards recognized the band's hard work by nominating 'Specific Ocean' as one of the Albums of the Year in 2003. The band also received nominations that year for Best New Band and Alternative Band of the Year by the NAMAs. In 2004, the public voted The Tickle as Alternative Band of the Year during the awards show, and the band found itself among the five finalists for Band of the Year. The band's music has also been featured on local and regional college, public and commercial radio stations. In addition to headlining their own shows, The Tickle has shared the stage with such bands as Aqueduct, Drums & Tuba, Timothy Prudhomme of F***, The Gloria Record, The Voodoo Organist and That 1 Guy. All the while, they have formed a stable of fans who appreciate the originality and 'rockability' of their songs. Dyer, Aldridge, Terry and Wilson, all classically trained musicians, use an assortment of instruments when writing songs. Trumpets, samples and drum loops are regularly layered into the core sound of drums, guitar, bass and keyboards. Their efforts to concoct original sounds and refrain from imitating other musical acts also landed the band a nomination as the Most Creative Band of 2004 by the Ozark Music Awards. The abilities of Aldridge, Dyer, Terry and Wilson create the atmosphere, but it's Crystal's words that lend the songs their meanings, or at least tie them to a title. 'IfihadahifI' (the new album) Crystal once again serves as the glue on The Tickle's latest project, the highly anticipated, 14-track 'IfihadahifI,' though in a more limited role than in the past. The album was recorded Oct. 22-25, 2004 at Deep Ellum Recording Studio in Dallas with the help of Craig Smith. After being mastered at Big Radius Sound Concern, the group will release the album April 30. To support the release, The Tickle will be playing a slew of local and regional dates throughout the spring and summer.