Saturday, November 14, 2015

Album Review: Tiebreaker - We Come From The Mountains

We've seen a bit of everything this year from the purveyors of vintage rock. Graveyard has been their usual selves, putting out the great "Innocence & Decadence", which is sure to reside near the top of many best of lists. Casablanca made a very good concept album that bridged the old and new, and then there were Kadavar and Horisont, who continued to baffle me with how they manage to continue signing record contracts. There is much to like about music that looks to a simpler time, but that has its own set of difficulties. By resorting to familiar tropes, it removes any veneer of invention that can mask deficiencies. The music has to stand on its own, and often that is the worst thing that can happen, given that consistently writing great songs is incredibly difficult.

"Early Morning Love Affair" starts things off with a bluesy riff that could also bring to mind a spaghetti western, an equal mix of Lynyrd Skynyrd and John Wayne, if you will. It's a nifty little riff, and the song rolls along with solid energy. The main melody is strong, and the whole thing comes together into an interesting sound I haven't quite heard before. But one song can be deceiving, and we have to go deeper before I'm ready to make any declarations.

"Nicotine" follows, and makes skepticism justified. Like the opener, it has a solid bluesy riff to build from, but the song itself never finds anything beyond that riff. It's one of those songs that you nod your head to when it plays, and then you find yourself wondering if you've zoned out, because you can't remember the last four minutes of your life. The same can be said about "The Homecoming Pt 1", which is a lovely ballad, full of clear guitar tones and heartfelt vocals. The problem is that none of it sticks at all. There isn't a part that makes you stop and remember it for later.

Like a lot of bands, Tiebreaker is able to put together some nice instrumental parts, but they come up short on the vocal melodies. They have a singer with a good voice, but the melodies are either ripped straight off the blues/rock assembly lines, or they flail away in search of a hooky chorus. That's what is most disappointing, that the band can't find their footing and turn their ideas into what they could be.

"We Come From The Mountains" was released in their home country last year, and is now seeing worldwide release. Hopefully, in the intervening year the band has upped their game after hearing the results of their work, because their next record needs to live up to the potential of their sound. This album is enjoyable, but utterly forgettable, and the old line about never getting a second chance to make a first impression has some truth to it. For their own sake, they need to do better next time.

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