- by James Weiskittel Rating:7 Release Date:2016-04-14 Label: Polyvinyl
Monikers and pseudonyms seem to go hand in hand with modern music. In a world where anyone with a laptop can make a record, just about every ‘real’ name seems to already be taken, cluttering Bandcamp and the like with countless variations of John/Bob/Jim/Smith/Jones etc. Case in point: Tancred (the name has always made me think of that similarly named second-tier alt-rock band).
Serving as the music vehicle for Now, Now singer/guitarist/force-of-nature Jess Abbot, Tancred (which undoubtedly would have simply been ‘Jess Abbot’ 20 years ago) has just released their third offering, Out of the Garden… and it’s honestly quite the romp.
One part Veruca Salt, one part Liz Phair (circa Exile), and one part all her own, Abbot injects a healthy dose of throw-back alterna-heroics into Out of the Garden’s eleven tracks. Album opener ‘Bed Case’ slaps prospective listeners in the face, signaling from the get-go that Tancred is not going to be the typical singer-songwriter solo affair.
As Abbott snarls “this is how we learn to be happy” on the vicious “Control Me,” one can’t help but revel in the sarcastic angst. “The Glow” and “Hang Me” swim confidently in denser, mid-tempo waters, while album closer "Pretty Girls" features some clever acoustic breaks and stands as Out of the Garden’s best track.
Not too dissimilar from 2013’s excellent self-titled release, the formula here is simple: Loud guitars, go-go drums, and catchy hooks. Wash, rinse, repeat. For fans of the ‘riot grrrl’ scene, Tancred’s Out of the Garden is filled with ‘four-on-the-floor’ goodness that does not disappoint.
Polyvinyl is a bit of a hit and miss label for me but this sounds interesting. I'll give it a go.
I was pleasently surprised myself.