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Tamaryn - Led Astray, Washed Ashore (Tamaryn)

10 August 2008

Somber and seductive, brooding and atmospheric, TAMARYN’s debut EP is filled with the kind of shimmering songs that alto chanteuses like NICO and SIOUXSIE SIOUX offered us in years past. Her voice is both a weight against the current of reverb-drenched guitars and a floating ornament atop the driving drums that underpin her songs. The music hovers between dark, tribal minimalism and lush post-punk grandiosity, infusing the familiar with the unexpected. Led Astray, Washed Ashore is an intriguing release to say the least.

The album opens with “Return to Surrender,” a song that invokes SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEESJuJu with muscular, echoing drums and a swirling soundscape. Like this song, most of the record captures a feeling of contemplative foreboding. Each track is rich with mystery in its own way, especially “The Unknown,” which makes a tantalizing use of layered vocal moans amidst pounding rhythms and guitars with a surf rock flair. There are no discernible lyrics besides the repetition of the words in the title, which creates an excellent unity of medium and message.

“Sarah In The Aeadrone” follows in a dirge-like fashion, with the more upbeat “Golden Song” and “Ashore” after that. The latter features the talents of NICK ZINNER of the YEAH YEAH YEAHS and TV ON THE RADIO’s JALEEL BUNTON. Both musicians reappear on the closing track, “Metal Beasts,” which is one of the more inventive songs on the album in terms of lyrics, music, and delivery. Tamaryn’s deliberate, enunciated, staccato vocals add another percussive element to mirror the drum line as the song slinks steadily forward, building up a slow groove that simmers with intensity. Never overstated and never too forceful, this record is powerful because of its restraint and mystery. Tamaryn’s self-released EP leaves one entranced yet stranded, wanting to hear more.

Catch Tamaryn ’s next live performance on August 29th at the CSV Theatre in NYC.