With the 2020’s fast approaching, 1990’s nostalgia is more common than ever. Today’s youth (and some younger adults) were born after 2000. To them, 90’s seems as distant as the 80’s did to those of us who were born in the 90’s. With the inevitable romanticizing of the era, many music acts have cropped up looking to capitalize on this, some doing it successfully, others not so much. Toronto band Tallies debut self-titled record manages to do the former, successfully creating a captivating blend of jangly shoegaze and indie pop. It is a sound that would not be out of place on college radio in 1992, but still manages to escape falling into the throwback category by capitalizing on their youthful energy.
A big contributor to this is the voice and energy of frontwoman, Sarah Cogan. Although her voice is set in a different context, it brings to mind the vocal style of dream-pop band The Innocence Mission, Karen Peris. Her voice has a child-like, almost otherworldly quality that brings a dreamy quality to the record. Instrumentally, this record could be compared to many shoegaze bands of the golden-era. In particular, some of the bass lines are reminiscent of Slowdive, and while the instrumentation is not necessarily as dense, it has plenty of pop to it to keep the listener interested the whole time.
I found the back-half of the record to be particularly strong. The song “Beat The Heart” on the second half has one of my favorite hooks, as Cogan sings over a driving beat, “Oh we’re ticking down, ticking down the days / It’s longer than missing, longer than hoping / beat the heart, beat it, we’re beating.” The vague, almost impressionistic quality of the lyrics fits well with ambient soundscape. Elsewhere on the track, Corgan evokes an almost cosmic quality, “the voice that makes us move / glides amongst our melting shoes / we’re illuminated / spaced out, feel the difference / Earth set from the moon / we’re floating.” It places the listener in the stratosphere in a sort of ecstasy in a masterful way that the genre is known for achieving.
This record establishes Tallies as a band to watch out for in the coming years, especially as the soundscape of rock music begins to shift again in the coming decade. It’s an impressive debut in terms of its consistency and lack of filler, as well as pop sensibility. It’s possible that they may be seen as a leader if this sound catches on and begins to take fire (even more than it already has) in the indie scene.
Score: 7.1 (Stand Out)
For info on how we score albums see https://notasound.org/2018/11/01/our-rating-scale/
Label: Kanine Records
Release Date: 1/11/2019