Archive for Tidal Tales

Old Wives – Tidal Tales

Posted in Recommendations with tags , , , on August 30, 2011 by stevenreedkelly

Further Seems Forever was a band that never settled on a singer.  Each of their three albums featured a different vocalist who, inevitably, left the band for one reason or another.  On the band’s first album The Moon is Down, there was Chris Carrabba, better known for his post-FSF solo project, Dashboard Confessional.  Jason Gleason was Carrabba’s fill-in for the second album, How to Start a Fire.  He left the band citing creative differences (and from what I gathered from the message boards in 2004, it wasn’t amicable).  Finally ex-Sense Field member Jon Bunch lent his pipes to Further’s final album Hide Nothing.  Of the three albums, usually the first is credited as the strongest effort by fans.  My personal favorite (and an album I argue is vastly under-appreciated) was the Gleason-fronted How to Start a Fire.

As an outfit, Further Seems Forever always had the chops to thrill me, even from the earliest record – the musicians were top notch.  Admittedly though, when Carrabba left the band to pursue Dashboard Confessional, I thought they were sunk.  Early demos indicated that Carrabba’s replacement didn’t have nearly the abilities to carry the band.  I was shocked when How to Start a Fire was released – Gleason’s voice towered above anything attempted on the band’s previous album.  I look back on this album and remember shouting “On Legendary” and “The Sound” in my little white ’94 Mazda Protege while driving around campus.  In my mind, it’s a classic.

After leaving Further Seems Forever, I kept tabs on Gleason’s projects.  He went on to create an album under the moniker ActionReaction in 2006 and then all was quiet for the better part of 5 years.  Some demos surfaced in a new project called Old Wives, but I doubted that I’d ever get to hear an official release.  Fortunately, I was wrong!

Tidal Tales was released by Old Wives in June 2011.  It has taken me a while to digest the contents – the songwriting, the instrumentation – it’s different than anything I’ve been listening to lately (to put it lightly).  Part the Doors, part Oingo Boingo – Old Wives is difficult to place in a definitive genre.  Indie enthusiasts may shirk at the towering vocals (and make no mistake, this entire band is a vehicle to showcase Gleason’s bellows – although that’s unfair to the incredible musicianship on the album), but emo and punk kids won’t know what to do with the organs, horn section and swanky rhythms.  That’s all entirely beside the point though – music fans who write this album off for one reason or another are missing out on a performance the likes of which are mostly absent from any scene.

I think what makes Tidal Tales a standout is that each song is so passionately delivered.  It feels like rock singers these days do their best to curb all emotion (like the muted mumblings of Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks”).  I guess It’s not cool to wear your heart on your sleeve anymore.  But from the blaring horns to Gleason’s howling – Old Wives tears the damn roof off with every track.

Certain songs on Tidal Tales feel like period pieces – with “Dub B.B.” influenced by big bands of the 50s, and “Boo Chant” sounding like 60s psychedelia (think the Zombies).  “The Whale” and “Rip Van Winkle” are just good fashioned toe-tappers.  “Alto Cinco” is basted in sweat and sex – and easily my favorite track on the album.  Check it out below: