Published Jan 09, 2019Let's face it, nostalgia is a safe bet.
Reproducing sounds from the past tickles our memories, but somewhere in the past few years, nostalgia became more of a marketing tool than an artistic one. Popular music across the board has recently been subject to a gauntlet of painful covers and retro-phile rip-offs. The result has been an abundance of forgettable genre revivals, tiny-toque wearers hung up on Morrissey, and an overkill of guitar effects on hilariously large pedal boards. (You're to blame for that one, Mr. Shields.) Thankfully for Toronto up-and-comers Tallies, this is not the case. Mostly.
Their self-titled debut uses the sway of '80s new wave to manoeuvre through currents of surf-rock, with an occasional jaunt into the more accessible side of shoegaze. This group of songs are vivid in colour, creating a warmth, unlike their contemporaries who cling to the depressing melodrama of these decades. By keeping it light, listeners will might find a second listen through all the more appealing.
Sarah Cogan's voice, Dylan Frankland's guitar playing, or some mixture of the two, are at the core of every standout moment on this record. One of the bands strongest tracks, "Not So Proud," finds Cogan replacing the smoky vocals of her lower register with confident full-voice melodies, as Frankland cradles everything in a bed of reverberated jangles.
The record was co-produced by Frankland and Josh Korody of Beliefs at Toronto's Candle Studio — a place to play with some of the most sought-after guitar toys and vintage gear. So it's no surprise that the attention to detail, instrumentally, is so meticulous, though occasionally that comes at a price. When emulating certain influences, the guitar tones are so precise that songs like "Midnight," for example, are hard to listen to without hearing anything other than the Smiths.
Maybe it's the lyrical content, or maybe it's nostalgia getting the best of me, but Tallies have a coming-of-age feel to them that's believable — or at least convincing enough to not ask questions. Some ideas are rough around the edges, and some moments aren't fully realized, yet it 's hard to pin them to one sound, what with their playful melodies and pastel atmosphere. You can't really call it spring either. Because like nostalgia, spring is temporary, and Tallies are nearing full bloom, with all the pieces to outlast any season. (Hand Drawn Dracula)