About a month ago, a band called Tumbler released their first album. It's called 'You Said', and it's one of the year's most delightful and unexpected musical offerings. And even more surprisingly, the album was recorded in an unpretentious studio situated in a shed, located in Epsom, England.
What's so unique about Tumbler is their sound, which is alternative rock with an air of simplicity that is both charming and, frankly, fun to listen to. Evidently, Tumbler is making music for the sheer love of making music. The result is akin to cotton candy for the ears: sweet, a little fluffy and definitely very sticky. Tumbler's hooky melodies are accompanied by unorthodox lyrics that, even though they occasionally border on the ludicrous, display more élan than dignity, which makes them often amusing, sometimes poignant, other times poetically eloquent, but always enjoyable.
Of the twelve tracks on 'You Said', the best tune is probably 'Break or Fall', followed closely by 'Don't Think Twice'. The latter, an alt rocker, starts easy and then builds to a delightful chorus. This pattern is duplicated throughout the song and, wonderfully, it never becomes repetitive. Probably because of the layered guitars and the happy, peppy lyrics: "Don't think twice/if it feels nice."
'Break or Fall' begins easily, too, but once it ramps up it stays there, demonstrating that someone, the musicians or the producer, has a real knack for effective arrangements. More excellent layering fills 'Break or Fall', providing the perfect vehicle for Harry Grace's vocals. Grace's voice merits special attention because it's one of those voices that move to and with the emotion of the music. In short, it's distinctive, alluringly insouciant and unforced.
Most of the songs are above average. Those that stand out include 'Moments', a casual alt rocker, with a Latin flavoured beat and a chilled out melody. Once again, Grace's voice emancipates the song. 'London Girl' is an acoustic number about the attraction of opposites. The lyrics, which are light and funny, make it work.
The final song on the album is 'Rowan Tree'. Reminiscent of a child's lullaby, it's a gentle tune that recalls Peter, Paul and Mary's mesmerizing 'Puff the Magic Dragon', with its subtle and addictive melody. Great harmonies enhance the song's affable lyrics.
On 'You Said', Tumbler has pulled off an extraordinary feat, an astonishing act equivalent to Steve Jobs building the first Apple computer in his garage. Instead of a garage, Tumbler used a shed to produce an album that glistens with originality and myriad musical colours.
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