Sweeping indie-guitar pop, vast shoegazey soundscapes and exquisitely subtle vocals abound on the debut release from Toronto-based Tallies.
The band’s debut album helps someone like me jump on a time machine back to reminisce about the heady days of my youth in the late 1980s into the 90s. Listening to the eleven tracks on offer here, I’m transported to the back end of my teens and early twenties. Visions of indie discos, rolled-up jeans, Doc Marten boots, long-sleeved t-shirts, cardigans and beads. And evenings spent lying in my room listening to a seemingly never-ending stream of jangly indie bands.
Tallies are four-piece: Sarah Cogan (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Dylan Frankland (lead guitar), Cian O’Neill (drums) and Stephen Pitman (bass), adding up to a melodic mash-up of styles, taking in indie guitar-pop and elements of shoegaze.
I’m brought to mind of the delicate beauty of Harriet Wheeler and The Sundays on several tracks on the album. On Midnight, I’m half expecting the lyrics to start with, “People I know, places I go, make me feel tongue-tied.”
On Not so Proud and Eden, Cogan channels the spirit of Throwing Muses/Belly’s Tanya Donnelly in her absorbing vocal. The shoegaze influences can be heard clearly in the intro to Trains in Snow which could be Slowdive on any other day.
The production has a clarity and purity that showcases the band’s sound perfectly, allowing Cogan’s delicate vocal to be clearly heard amongst the beauty and complexity of the textured guitar and sympathetic rhythm section.
Lyrically, the album in places has the feel of someone coming of age, matching the wistful nature of many of the songs present in the collection. The album opens with the vast layered sound of Trouble, seemingly lamenting that life isn’t all wine and roses when the simple, carefree naivety of youth comes to an end. On the indie stomper, Mother, the realisation of the adage that your mother is always right is explored: “Somehow she always still rings true.” Album closer, Easy Enough explores the changing nature of relationships.
Listen to the infectious chiming guitars on the single Beat the Heart:
You can find Tallies on bandcamp.
All words by Neil Hodge. More writing by Neil on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. You can also find Neil online at his blog thegingerquiff.