steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Tickle

"Specific Ocean" CD

Big Radius Records

Genres: instrumental rock, indie rock

Big Radius Records
118A West Spring St.
Fayetteville AR 72701

Aug 11 - 17 2003

It could be said that Arkansas label Big Radius' biggest attraction is The Tickle, an instrumental band whose second album, Specific Ocean, was released earlier this year. Their songs are surprisingly inoffensive affairs, simple melodic instrumentals that are enjoyable enough yet a bit low in substance.

A lot of this album relies on providing a nice warm flow of melody to chill out to. As an instrumental backdrop it's very relaxing and pleasant; it succeeds in being infectious and very listenable. It's simply a very enjoyable release. Things start off well with the catchy yet unmemorable opener, "Thundercats" and continue on in that vein. The songs focus on guitar and drums, but also have bells, trumpet, and other accompaniment to keep things interesting. Rarely do matters get exciting or climactic, but you never feel like they have to. The theme here is water, particularly the shore that is shown on the CD's cover. In fact, once the final track ends, you get around thirty minutes of a field recording of moving water that is only interrupted occasionally for manipulation by the band.

Altogether, The Tickle's Specific Ocean is a pleasant album, but not a great one. If you're looking for some pleasant instrumental rock music, look no further. Just don't expect to be moved.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 8 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]