Edition of 50 //
One of the thoughts I had while listening to this cassette that remained from start to finish is something that I am choosing to type up about it first. If I was listening to this on a streaming service (or through their Bandcamp page) so that it was on my laptop, it would feel at times as if I was listening to one song by Tar Of and then I'd open a new tab and something else would begin playing. So it feels like that song layered upon song but it isn't because I've listened to this only through earbuds and via cassette. But it is odd how I can click a link on my laptop and think "Oh, why is that playing?" but it's really not or at least I can't hear it if it is.
The sound of Tar Of begins in what I would describe as upbeat and magical though there are these harsh moments which come crashing through. The vocals aren't always words and though the songs can range in time from rather short to around the typical length of a song, for the most part you can just think of this as one long experiment in sound, rarely taking a break to breathe in between the chaos and high pitched vocal-blending harmony. At times, because of the vocals, this can remind me of a band such as Portugal, The Man. (who I hear are big now but I only really know them for that one album ["Waiter: "You Vultures!""] but you could also draw the comparison back to Anatomy Of A Ghost.
Layered vocals can create a sound which is upbeat and bouncy. Perhaps the best way to describe this as a whole is that these songs can feel like pop songs in the sense that you want to sing along or nod your head along with the beat, but yet, the way in which they are constructed you can tell is so not pop. When they have this pure singing come through, you can still hear other vocals behind it with what sounds like the turning of a crank. It feels acoustic, yet in space, as you can pick out the song "Salt In My Shoes" because of how much those words are heard. Horns come out at the end of that song as well as it feels like a record player breaking. I enjoy the song titles of "Take It To Sea" and "Take Me To See" as then "Nina" feels like one note glitches which also bring about rapid drumming.
An acoustic plucking now with vocals but then there are vocals behind it as well which sound recorded like a voicemail. Things slow down with some sonar for "Wontena", which is a word that comes through more like a chant. There is a knocking behind it and this can get pretty trippy if you let it fully embrace you. A somewhat more upbeat song now sings about how "I tried" and the song "Blacklung" is what brings Side A to an end.
On the flip side we hear ambient bells which make it feel almost like a lullaby. We got into drum machine beats and get wild again. There are some definite Elliott Smith vibes in here and then the bass gets really deep, as if we've dropped to the bottom of the ocean. Somehow this becomes an upbeat rock song which reminds me of Ben Kweller and then everything just gets louder, chopped up, it's skipping and it's reversed. It's like they took that traditional pop song and put it into a blender.
Horns come in like a car alarm and then there is a really loud distortion with it. It reaches a groove as the vocals appear and it reminds me of The Lot Six. The titular track, which ends the cassette (before quite a bit of dead air) takes us on quite the ride but so does this whole cassette. Sometimes this can feel like one note and sometimes it can feel like all of the notes being played at once. Sometimes it has a traditional pop or rock feeling to it, but even when it does you know it's being produced in a way which is not traditional. The genius of Tar Of rests in the little details which when combined form the bigger picture and it is a sight to see.