Tuesday, December 6, 2011

REVIEW// The Black Tambourines: Chica EP

     Cornish lo-fi quartet The Black Tambourines are all set to release their EP 'Chica' later this month, via Art Is Hard Records on the 19th. A grunge-ridden rock an' roll effort layered with surf-pop sensibilities, 'Chica' will be available on cassette, and purchasing it unlocks an extra two tracks, t-shirt and a poster. It's most certainly worth your money, and at a limited edition of just fifty, I suggest skipping my review and grabbing a copy if I've managed to sell it to you already! If not read on and I'll try my hardest to persuade your fine self to do just so! After a couple of listens, I came to the conclusion that The Black Tambourines' sound was not dissimilar to that of the Black Lips and even subtle quirks akin to a lighter, happier WU LYF, if such a thing can be imagined, emerged from the music. A five track effort (seven if you count bonus numbers) this EP is fantastic from start to finish and easy to recommend!
     Opening with 'Bad Days', a relaxed build and beat slowly grow, the guitar-lead melody happily letting me soak in the music before hitting me with all that glorious loudness. Drum wise the level of skill and refinement and ability here is outstanding, carrying all the songs with an infectious upbeat grin, tangible in its care-free happiness. Vocal harmonies lie just below that layer of nostalgic reverb, simmering with an understated, overlooked pleasure. 'White Album' follows with a similar aesthetic, the singing moving to the front of the stage. I found it particularly fascinating on this track as while it is a loud song the vocals remain so subtle and controlled under it! Every tonal change and stunning lyric can be plucked from this hotbed of furiously blissful rock. Some smile-inducing high notes are even thrown in! 'Cat Days' succeeds 'White Album' with a softer, bluesier air about it. Childish 'la la la's are abundant, and I love every single one. '27 - 25 Blues' is the lead single from 'Chica', and it is ever so easy to see why. It seems a lot more mature than the rest, confident in its gritty guitar lines and noisy, throbbing backdrop. The vocals are as spot-on as ever, yet it is the ultimate track 'Green' that gets my feet tapping the most. The drum beat shimmers with a summery glow, reflecting back a larger-than-life sun that hangs heavy in the sky. Closing the EP, the singing gains an apt, almost unwilling tiredness, a quality I can't get enough of!
     A final push reveals the concluding build, delighted and sad and wondrously contented with its effort. The Black Tambourines have surpassed your average lo-fi garage rockers. I think the Cornish quartet are set to blow up in the face of mainstream pop and I'm backing them all the way. This is music as it should be. Thought-out, passionate and eager to get smiles slapped on despondent winter cheeks. It's an excellent set of tracks, so stream '27 -25 Blues' below, then head over to the Bandcamp to make sure you get a cassette, here!