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The Waves



  Mexican Summer  
Release Date:

24.August.2010 (download) / 14.September.2010 (physical)

Reviewed by:

Tamaryn are, apparently, the West coast's answer to Beach House. This is a San Francisco-based, two-piece band featuring prominent, echoed guitars and a female voice that is smoky and buried in the mix. The difference is that while Beach House use a lot of organ/keyboard, Tamaryn are all effected guitar.

The general tone of each band is similar: the songs are dreamy and hazy and move along under a wall of distortion. Hmm. You know, that description could also work for a lot of the work of The Raveonettes. What is it about duos making this type of music these days? Well, at any rate, i suggest that fans of mellow spacey pop will want to check out this record.

The female half of this band goes by Tamaryn -- just Tamaryn, kind of like Prince, or Madonna, or Animal. The band is named after her. The male half of the band is named Rex John Shelverton, preserving a sort of zero-sum "two names per band member" rule. He also does the production, while the two of them share the instrumentation.

The record kicks off with the title track, which features her voice delicate and gothy beside guitars that grind away under tremolo. There is a nice contrast between the dark voice and the fuzzy guitar on this catchy tune. On Choirs of Winter the whole song seems further in the distance, the voice heavily echoed and the guitars a dreamy Slowdive-like haze. This could have been on Souvlaki.

On Love Fade the drumming is insistent and fierce, the first time it has stood out on the record. This reminds me of 1960s psychedelia as re-imagined by Grimble Grumble. It is really catchy, with flat drums, jangling guitars, and droning voice. The intensely psychedelic experience continues with Haze Interior, where the guitars reach a level of distortion that i haven't heard since SIANpheric released The Sound of the Color of the Sun. It is as if, at any moment, the distortion will rise into a crescendo that will swallow her voice and the faint cymbal tap that echoes so far in the background, leaving behind nothing but a roaring mass of overdriven guitar. This is a surreal, echoey tune, but with beautiful singing. There is a great melody hidden under the guitar fog.

On Sandstone, the band play with looping a faint melody under the guitar and shaken beat. Coral Flower is the most Beach House-y tune of the lot. The drums are positively dubby with echo, and one layer of guitar is almost clear, as Tamaryn sings in her husky voice. Very pretty.

On Dawning they get poppy. The drums keep a steady 4/4 beat and the guitars grind away in two layers of contrasting melody through actual verses and choruses. The typical song elements are easily identified here, which is not often true of Tamaryn. I listen to this song, and cannot help but tap my foot along to it, especially when the song swells up in the chorus and she asks the listener to "Sit in the darkness, with me". Her voice reminds me a lot of Puro Instinct on the chorus.

Cascades features her voice in layers, creating a Dead Can Dance effect, while a sleigh-bell and some deep drumming keep the rhythm. This is the gothiest song here, and not bad at all. Finally we wrap things up with Mild Confusion, which features the most prominent bass of any Tamaryn tune. It is a steady rumbling that nicely compliments the guitar drone.

This is a very enjoyable album. Nothing too new or different, but well done and interesting. I like Tamaryn's voice and the guitarwork is great, an overdriven wall. This is the new style of shoegaze, and i for one am enjoying it.

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