steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Tin Teardrop

"Ebb and Flow" CDR

Curved Earth Records

Genres: lo-fi, DIY pop, indie pop

Curved Earth
1424 Almeria Ave.
Santa Maria, CA

Dec 22 - 28 2003

Tin Teardrop's Ebb and Flow is a pop record so lo-fi that it will actually terrify mainstream listeners.  Not because it's musically frightening, or because it's about monsters and mummies and such - but because it's so dang left of centre.  The production values are low, and the melodies are very unconventional.  "Away From Potential," for example, employs the use of both guitars and vocals, but lets the high-pitched synthesizer play most of the melody anyway!

"Waking Life" is a fine pop ditty, but it's problem, as is the case with many of Ebb and Flow's fourteen songs, is a lack of an instantly memorable melody.  When dealing with songs of this degree of lo-fi-ness, pop hooks need to be present in large quantities to keep the listener interested.  Another example is "Eastern Sands"; you gotta dig the Cornershop "Brimful of Asha" riffage that characterizes the song's beginning, but the unmelodic vocals cause the song to lose its catchy touch shortly thereafter.

Some of the best songs on this disc are the most inexplicable.  "Home" is a bit too long for its own good, at six minutes, but it has a remarkably catchy melody to make up for it.  The organ / guitar chime combo of "Miller Street" is another highlight; its unusual song structure is both inventive and undeniably catchy, making it Ebb and Flow's best asset.

Overall, it's clear that Tin Teardrop needs to pare down the number of songs for their next album; there's just too much filler finding its way onto this disc.  As well, they need to fix their recording techniques, because on Ebb and Flow's louder moments,  the music tends to 'clip,' totally ruining the music's mood and... ahem... flow.  This becomes a bigger problem later in the album, leading me to think it has something to do with the band's CD burner.  My words of wisdom to the band: Practice, write, record, repeat.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 14 tracks, distributed by the band, released 2003]