Review: Tancred, ‘Out Of The Garden’
Most bands pride themselves on their personality. It’s a huge part of their social media presence, which is one of the things that I identify with the most. Yes, it helps if the music is good, but if the voice that you’ve chosen to give your band outside of that isn’t one that resonates with me, it’s easier to forget just how much I like your music. Personality is so important, and I don’t know that there’s a band that I feel better embodies this than Tancred. Tancred has a lot of personality where it counts. Their social media presence is sarcastic and witty, and [moreso now than ever] on their third full-length album, ‘Out Of The Garden,’ this same personality spills over into their lyrical narrative.
I say that the personality is more present on this album because I’ve witnessed the evolution of Tancred happen before my eyes. Now, Now [then Now, Now Every Children] was the first indie band that I can remember getting into, and naturally when Jess announced her side project would be releasing a full-length album, I was stoked. ‘Capes’ and it’s follow-up ‘String & Twine’ seven-inch sounded like an extension of the work Abbott was doing with Now, Now, and it wasn’t until the release of Tancred’s self-titled album that the sound we’ve come to know and love began to develop.
‘Out Of The Garden’ is easily the best record in Tancred’s catalogue, combining the pop sensibilities of the self-titled album with a lyrical tone that is just as sharp as it is sardonic. This is a statement that is true for the whole record, but the most poignant example of this comes from a song called “Joey.” This is the second song on the album, and the first where the lyrics alone will make you do a double-take. The first line of the song is “I knew you before you could date/Before life served you up on a plate,” which is second only to a hook that reads “I don’t care/I’ll just never be cool/I’ll never be one of you.” Early on, it becomes abundantly clear that the hooks on this record soar, but once you’ve got your fix of that and start to really listen to what’s being said, that’s when ‘Out Of The Garden’ shines brightest.
“Control Me” was just released as a single and is arguably the best representation of what to expect from the album. It’s driving and the hook is instantly memorable, but you’ve still got lyrics like “I got a job that I hated because I don’t want your God to get mad” that showcase the cynical edge that has made Tancred’s brand of power pop stand out as something unique to them.
When trying to choose my favorite song from the record, I’m torn between this and “Pens.” The latter of the two starts out with Abbott singing of the humdrum, with lyrics like “In my car/can hardly steer/In my desk/Many pens there” before erupting into a chorus of ooh’s and “I’m insanely healthy in my head/it’s crazy how stable I am.” I fell in love with this the second I heard it, it’s just so wry and just so perfect.
‘Out Of The Garden’ is a collection of songs that soars leagues above anything Tancred has done before. The wry and instantly memorable hooks add a real sense of power to their brand of power pop that is certain to sit well with listeners both new and old. This record places a lot of importance on the personality that shines through in it’s narrative, and it’s paid off in spades. This is the best work to come from this band, and it’s only a matter of time before this band takes over the world.