ALBUM REVIEW: THE TAMBORINES – SEA OF MURMER

8/10

ALBUM REVIEW: THE TAMBORINES - SEA OF MURMER

The London via Brazil duo The Tamborines are releasing Sea of Murmur the follow up to their debut album the 2010 Camera and Tremor. The DIY, Indie Noise Pop duo have moved away from the shoegaze, pedalfest that defined their debut. Sea of Murmur harkens back to the breezy guitar jangle pop of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Close your eyes and you are transported to the sounds of early REM releases.

The Tamborines originated from various groupings in their native Brazil. The band was formed in 2000 by Henrique Laurindo and Renato Tezolin. The now London based Tamborines currently consists of former romantic couple Laurindo on vocals and guitars and Lulu Grace on drums. Sea of Murmur was produced by The Tamborines and mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk. Laurindo and Grace drew inspiration for the collection from classic cinema and bands as diverse as the Velvet Underground, Jesus and the Mary Chain, Ride, Brian Jonestown Massacre and REM.

The album could have been named “Son of Murmur” with all the fingerprints of REM’s classic album “Murmur” that are all over the album. Sea of Murmur is a charming and enjoyable trip back in time to those pleasant sounds. The songs are hook laden and full of energy. The album starts off with Another Day which is a concentrated beam of pop sunshine with a bouncy summery feel. An earworm of a tune that once heard will cause some serious addiction. The lyrics reflect a darker meaning engendered by the chorus “something always rhymes with goodbye.”

Black and Blue is an older song and the remnants of shoegaze influence swirling around the track. The soaring guitars provide an ethereal sound with bouncy élan and expansiveness over the background fuzz. Ghost at the Lighthouse was inspired by a silent movie. It projects an eerie, dreamy and more minimal sound.

Fellini’s Thorn name checks the legendary director. The song has a strong guitar intro and Henrique’s voice combines with the music for something special. There is much to like about this song, with its great pop boost, the duo seems to have mastered Bob Mould’s legendary abilities to write a hook laden song. Said the Spider to the Fly has a mesmerizing guitar track, with Ride’s influences all over the vocal and melody. The song itself seems to be about never doing or accomplishing as much as you dream, with lyrics such as, “just admit it doesn’t matter, it’s the wrong dream in my head… life is full of tears said the spider to the fly.”

One Afternoon sounds more like Brian Jonestown Massacre, and has a trippier feel than the rest of the album. It contains an infectious swirling sound, but again the lyrics belie the pop brightness of the music.

Indian Hill brings Lulu to the forefront on vocals; her voice begs comparisons to Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde. Over an eerie almost industrial sounding beginning Lulu sings about the duo’s romantic breakup and the accompaniment reflects the sad undertones of their romantic demise. Be Around again seems to channel the duo’s inner Bob Mould with a very fetching song where power chords abounding with an enjoyable guitar jangle. Slowdown is an older selection that melds early Cure’s “Boys Don’t Cry” with REM’sSouth Central Rain” for an enticing sound. The song breaks out into a sound explosion of great fuzz guitar at the end.

Dreaming Girl is The Tamborines in their Jesus and the Mary Chain mode with slashes of Velvet Underground tossed in to the mix. It’s reverberating singing over a wall of sound with a nice keyboard piece to add originality. The final song, The Most Important Thing again uses a “keep it simple stupid” musical accompaniment with sublime vocals to create an enjoyable song.

Sea of Murmur is a rush of 80’s and 90’s alternative pop, with all the songs clocking in under 5 minutes; they are short, sweet and to the point. The album contains pleasant blasts from the past with just enough 21st century gloss to make the collection all so palpable. The tunes all have hooks galore and both members of the duo have great voices and are gifted musicians. The album does not feel like it was made by two people in a studio but feels like a fully fleshed out band. If I have one complaint with Sea of Murmur it is that it is possibly too much of a good thing. Sea of Murmur is a very approachable album for listeners. The Tamborines have shown great potential working in both the shoegazer genre and the altie pop genres, leaving me looking forward to their next manifestation.

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