REVIEW: Tanbark Shows the Power of Muted Tones on the New Self-Titled Album


Between 24-hour news cycles, countless entertainment options, and social media, our society has become increasingly noisy. Consequently a lot of people advise that you tune out the noise. On the new self-titled album, Tanbark shows that you can tune out the noise simply by turning down the volume and making good music.

Even if you’re a rocker, every once in a while, it’s nice to hear something that goes for depth rather than volume and tempo. “Chatelet” is a perfect example. This song features pedal steel and piano that give the song a classic 70s feel while Chloe Nelson’s airy vocals are perfect for the easygoing melody. This sounds like the kind of song Rob Gordon might play to grab the attention of shoppers in Championship Vinyl.

Nelson’s vocals have a breathy quality reminiscent of Carla Bruni. You can hear it particularly in songs like “Worth the Charm” where her vocals seem to float on top of the pedal steel. Frankly it doesn’t matter which song you’re talking about. Nelson’s vocals are captivating.

Country music has plenty of examples of heartbreakingly beautiful duets. Tanbark adds its to the canon with “The Bridge”. Nelson and James Janicelli each sing about how things are on either side of a river. You can’t help but feel something when the two sing about being worlds apart and nothing being able to cross the space between them. Even more heartbreaking is that each one realizes that he or she will stay on one side of the river.

Powerful is not generally a word you use to describe folky albums like this, yet powerful is a perfect descriptor. It’s powerful because the subdued melodies and the intoxicating muted vocals really make you pay attention to the subtle tones and the lyrics. As a result, the album hits as hard as an open palm to the sternum. Furthermore, the more you listen to this album, the harder it is to pick a favorite song. Tanbark will be available everywhere on May 31. Order your copy here.

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