Tallows – Waist Deep

7 Production
7 Composition
8 Mood
8 Instrumentation

Based out of Oklahoma City, Tallows haven’t really been around for too long really, and throughout the groups time together they appear to have taken a rather languid and casual pace about things, doing everything in their own time when they feel the time is right. It can’t be said that they don’t put the effort in when it’s needed though, cold video and photo shoots seem to be something they really enjoy doing, and from their releases so far this effort really comes through. Their first proper show together took place in 2012, they then released their first album, ‘Memory Marrow’ in 2013, which saw them create quite a buzz and had them placed on a number of bands to watch lists.

With comparisons to be made to a number of noteworthy indie bands such as Modest Mouse and American Football, Tallows are producing experimental and electronic indie with post and math rock undertones. Now with ‘Waist Deep’, released on the Chicago based independent label Walk-In Records, they look to have matured their sound and really focused on the album that they wanted to make. They’ve loosely maintained the influences and the effect that they have on their sound, but have come out demonstrating what they can bring to the indie table with their own innovations.

RELEASE DATE: 08 September 2015  LABEL: Walk-In Records

Opening track ‘When Your Clothes Still Fit’ buzzes with anticipation and provides an anxious and excitable start to the album. It opens with an almost samba beat as the drums click and clack away apprehensively for whats to come. The drums are soon joined by guitar and synth that bath across with a new layer. Everything shifts around through the song, as the lyrics jolt on top of it all, ‘we can call the whole thing off’ barks out vocalist Josh Hogsett, but instead everything gets kicked up a notch and things intensify for the rest of the song.

‘Shrink’ is the next song up and this is a strong example of the range of sounds to be found throughout the album. Opening up with an electronic feel, synth plays out before being joined by a heavier guitar and drums. Everything shushes down for the first verse and sits rather hushed below before the bellow of the guitars and drums rush back in to open up the chorus that features a rather foals-esque plucking guitar, drum and vocal combo.

‘Birdbath etc’ is next, one of the more upbeat and to the point songs featured on the album, it feels like a  straight forward trip into some mid 2000s indie alongside an experiment with some math-rock ideas, it holds a straight beat and structure but there’s some complex and interesting things going on with the bass and guitars that make for an interesting combo when heard alongside the vocals.

A couple of tracks later comes ‘Sprawl’ which features vocals from Samantha Crain. It comes as a bit of a jolt to the albums flow in some ways, a much slower and sparser song to begin with, there’s simple guitars strumming out with the occasional hi-hat breath and snare click, whilst Hogsett calmly and blissfully sings out on top. The harmonies and contrast between the vocals of Hogsett and Crain play out nicely, and there’s vulnerability to the whole thing, in both the lyrics and the song itself, it almost shows a sense of worry and apprehension about what to do, where to go. Coming in at around the half way point of the album maybe waist deep is enough, time to turn back, the water’s too cold. It’s definitely one of those penseful songs at the gig, the one that stops the bar from serving for fear of making to much noise and ruining the ambience.

Things pick back up again though with the following song ‘The Dead Sea’ another up beat indie throwback with smatterings of other genres, feelings of 65daysofstatic clash with the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club or Two Door Cinema Club and combine to make some interesting moments. This indie based sound continues on the next couple of songs with ‘I Can Feel You Looking at Me’ and ‘Longlegs’ both keeping this theme of indie-experimental infusion going, an infusion that’s just a lot of fun to listen to and take in.

Penultimate track ‘Generalism’ brings the technicality that’s been hinted at through a lot of the album to the forefront, with complex guitar lines and breakbeat drums taking a prime position. It’s a little more abstract than the previous songs with a looser structure and less focus on a standard lyrics based track, things like variation of noise and timbre seem to be more the aim, and it’s something that the guys manage to pull off very nicely.

Closing track ‘CLORA’ is the longest of the album and brings everything to a nice close. There’s a lot more of the electronic side to the band on offer here, as synth plays a big role in the song. It’s a big closer, something that you can see the band losing themselves to at the end of a show, glitching electronic spikes, throbbing bass and pounding drums all come together to form a worthy end to a curious and inquisitive album.

With Waist Deep, Tallows look to be experimenting and exploring a little more than they did with their debut release, finding their own sound and making a point of what it is, and it’s interesting to hear this happen throughout the album. There’s not really a coherent theme or genre to Waist Deep, one thing that they stick to for every song. Sometimes they go heavy with the indie, others they’re pushing the math rock technicality and sometimes a more electronic sound takes precedence. The album doesn’t settle but instead stays on it’s toes, and this it what makes it such an interesting thing to listen to. With each song everything rolls out together and merges to a collective sound, and it’s a consistently good sound that is achieved.

So why don’t you come wade into the water, get in waist deep, get used to the temperature and then just fully submerge yourself.

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