Tamaryn - Tender New Signs
Remember Tamaryn? Those purveyors of all sounds 'gaze'-most tangibly shoegaze, but also modern blog inventions like nugaze, dreamgaze, darkgaze… it's all pretty indistinguishable, but nevertheless still incredibly compelling, and for Tamaryn it seems to make a lot of sense. Made up of the female vocalist Tamaryn and her collaborator Rex John Shelverton, formerly of Vue amongst others, Tender New Signs is the band's follow up to 2010's frostily therapeutic The Waves, and very much channels the same murky currents that made that record so appealing.
Tamaryn's vocals are more submerged than ever, hushed, intimate and haunting like the remembrances of a past lover, often mumbling over lyrics that once uttered, seem to disperse amidst the echoing swirls of church-guitar noise. The opening tracks play like Bradford Cox at his most introspective, or Liz Harris at her most gregarious, and sway to a steady beat-drums dampened and resonating, played pretty lethargically and dead eyed seemingly from an adjoining room. 'No Exits' is the most brooding of all, downcast and soul searching as Tamaryn seems to be asking all the questions and receiving only Shelverton's characteristic Slowdive scatterings by way of a reply. The vocals are not as dynamic as they could be and have been side-lined slightly since the debut, but they still possess that searching quality that helps make a little sense of all the reverb.
Such is the murkiness and lethargy of the first four tracks though that they threaten to blend together into one cloudy, indistinct mess. Luckily 'Prizma' comes just in time, sticking to a similar formula as previous, but with more bounce as the drums step it up a gear and for the first time the guitar is really given license to flourish recalling Deerhunter Microcastle era. The vocals are delivered like a plea and some of the initial, hazy uncertainty seems to have been dissipated with the line "We don't have to wonder why." 'The Garden' follows in much the same tone, taking all the earlier introspection but producing something more confronting, giving way to the looping lead guitar refrain and the lyrics"“Is this a dream? It's not in essence what it used to be." Actually it is closer to what it used to be, resembling tracks like 'Love Fade' from the previous album. 'Afterlight' and 'Violets in a Pool' bring the album to an absorbing end and give glimpses of The Cure's influence and somewhat explain that "darkgaze" label.
With the release of Tender New Signs Tamaryn (the vocalist) explained her aim: "In making this record I hoped to transcend the mundane world by living in a new one of my own creation." On the first half of the album it's unfortunately quite an indistinct swamp of a creation, and threatens to establish a new type of mundane, but when the guitar is given license to flourish it recaptures some of the best parts of The Waves and creates a space that is more Shelverton's than anything.