In 2014, Tamara Sandor released A Bower in the Arsacides; a quiet folk, jazz-infused, record sprouted from the dusty roads that Sandor had traveled. Though its Melville-ian title suggests it came from the belly of a beast. The newest album from the Montreal musician, rather than from a beast, is the beast. In Tynes, Sandor grapples with balancing self-preservation and the wildness that claws out of all of us. The end result is an album with a bite.
Sonically, Tynes is a substantial development from Sandor’s past work. She has moved away from more intimate folk soundscapes and lets her melodies and arrangements flow freely with help from a cast of Montreal musicians like Smokes’ Patrick Cruvellier, Tim Crabtree (Paper Beat Scissors), Craig Pedersen, and Future States‘ Chuck Bronson and David Lacalamita. In opener “Tines,” Sandor wails and whispers through the numerous acts of the song and is backed by an expansive folk-rock soundscape. “Walls” is another song that shows a completely new side to Sandor. It’s an angry track – the LP’s best lines lie in this track as Sandor spits, “You said “Yeah, we should’ve fucked when we had the chance”” – that when Sandor gets riled up so too does the thunderous instrumentation.
“Bloody Memory” is a playful and poppy track whose smart mix of celebration and sorrow make it the album highlight. Here, Sandor is healing or at least trying to convince herself to become a better (happier) person and though the song is, dare I say, danceable, the underlying darkness and fear of not becoming better – at the song’s end she sings, “I must abide,” that must being so important – makes the song so much stronger.
As Tamara Sandor continues to develop her sound, Tynes reminds us to not be ashamed of the horns we’ve grown but that it’s also okay to put them away once in a while.
Top Track: “Blood Memory”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)