Tar…Feathers Make Way for the Ocean Floor to Fall to the Surface

[Release the Bats; 2006]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: lo-fi, indie rock, indie pop
Others: Wolf Parade, early Modest Mouse, Frog Eyes

Tar...Feathers, primarily composed of Swede Marcus Nyke, makes its debut with the awkwardly titled Make Way for the Ocean Floor to Fall to the Surface, a collection of ten lo-fi indie pop/rock songs recorded in a "small attic on an island on the Swedish east coast." A romantic enough proposition for Americans swooning over Nyke's countrymen Jens Lekman and José González, but Tar...Feathers proves to be a different creature altogether. The closest touchstone to my ears is Wolf Parade at their oddest, as Nyke makes use of unconventional song structures with catchy melodies and ragged, multi-tracked vocals soaked in reverb.

The instrumentation here is well-played guitar and thumping, largely synthetic percussion. The anthemic "Half a Sentence," "Verse Chorus Verse Chorus," and spooky, driving "Build Me a Wreck" (which reminds me of Wolf Parade's "Fancy Claps") are among my favorites here; and while there's no "I'll Believe in Anything," the consensus Parade favorite, Tar...Feathers have come completely unheralded and are a pleasant surprise. Make Way isn't perfect, and I'll admit to being a fan of this style enough to forgive shortcomings in songwriting, but this is definitely worthwhile listening for any fans of Canada's new indie rock vanguard.

1. Cuckoo
2. Was it Even There?
3. Breathing Through a Straw
4. Half a Sentence
5. You are Lucky to Have Nothing
6. Build Me a Wreck
7. Tada
8. Verse Chorus Verse Chorus
9. Counting Sheep
10. Forever is Quite Some Time