Silky siren, oh dreamy muse – oh perfectly prodigal duo, Tamaryn. Like narcissus and echo, these musical nymphs once again enchant in the land of goth, dream pop and psychedelia. This bi-gendered duo composed of smokey-throated vocalist, Tamaryn and her main man, Rex John Shelverton — come from the land of hobbits, aka New Zealand, and currently live in The Bay.
With their sophomore album “Tender New Signs,” they bring forth a mystical mentality. Dripping with 90’s vocals, Tamaryn brings you an album that sounds more like a time capsule. Steamy wind pipes like a mix of Mazzy Star and Courtney Love, whether it was intentional or not the vibe is right on trend — everything is nineties nowadays and what a beautiful compliment to your eight-hole-Doc Martens and flannels over babydoll dresses.
The modern twist of shoe gaze pop makes it just fresh enough to keep you listening through the familiar noise. Stagnant harmonies fill the air and little drops of sugar plum lyrics dance in between your ears. With all the song title trappings of any good manic-pixie-chick, the album track list sounds like the plot to some flowery independent chickflick. At times melancholy and all together self-wallowing, the sound is so perfectly suited for Fall — it even tastes like pumpkin ale. Heavy and bitter on the tongue, its soapy lyrics are ethereal, in fitting contrast to the grunge instrumentals.
With haunting bass line that sound like the inside of an old asylum, shines the last track in this splendid list of lunacy, “Violets in the Pool.” It opens dark and melancholy, like the dusk before the dawn, an eerie sadness hangs onto to every note and the bitter after taste of depression lingers as crashing symbols and echoing drums blur. Lyrics speak of curses, and wondering and daughters. Every single note sounds like October, so no better time for the release then now.
Perfect for your hip Silver Lake Halloween party, or just cruising down some sleepy country road, this album has the macabre and earth-toned sound I so crave this time of year. Where their last album was much cleaner, sporting an innocent demeanor and less pounding fundamentals, Tender New Signs is rawer. Striped away and less pretty, the sounds stay intoxicating and still hold on to a strand or two of beauty.
From a technical stand point the vocals are lost, washed out heavily by the bass and most especially the drums, clearly a taste motivated move — nineties grunge rock technicality, similar to the likes of which we all know and love. Some may not appreciate this ode to days gone by, but I for one am charmed. With such captivating songs, in particular “Heavenly Bodies” and “Prizma.” “Heavenly Bodies” is jaunty with the rheumatic, over all sense of morbid reflection and drool insanity is present in every strum of guitar. “Prizma” is of the heavier set, like a heart broken stomach weighed down by donuts, it settles in your brain (and tummy).
Tender New Signs is emotionally cohesive, staying on the same sad wavelength. While the message is old, the contemporary vibe is present and tangible. Beyond the silky voice is a hip musical lingo, reminiscent of the same electro shoegaze and most importantly, the sound is true and the passion is heard behind the bass pads and the wispy notes sung.
Words: Jasmine Richelle