Who is the band? What is their history? What motivates them?
“One Little Light Year, the debut album from New England-based TANGENTS. Recorded and mixed at Stillwork Recording Studio in Holyoke, Massachusetts, the album was produced by the band with producer/engineer Benjamin Jon (All That Remains, The Acacia Strain)”.
“TANGENTS is not what most will expect musically from drummer Derek Kerswill (Unearth/Seemless) and Dave Witham (Of the Hour/Flat-12). Kerswill's musical diversity and rhythmic approach provides a solid foundation for the album, propelling the tracks forward with great intensity. Add to it the lush and organic sound of vocalist/guitarist Dave Witham and TANGENTS soars in the vein of Jeff Buckley, As Tall As Lions, even Radiohead. Witham's magnificent voice rises over a spiraling sonic backdrop with dazzling control and splendor. The album's ambitious songwriting creates the catchiest music either musician has released to date. Over a year of intense effort went into the creation of One Little Light Year. Witham reveals, "The recording process was unlike one we have ever been a part of before. We did a lot of work remotely. In fact, the only time Derek and I really got together was to do some of the pre-production work and when we were tracking the drums. It came out remarkably well considering the limited amount of time we actually spent together in the same room."
"Recording this album was one of the greatest recording experiences of my life," says Kerswill. "We worked on pre-production together for awhile, which made recording the record so much easier. I was so well-versed in what I was doing drum-wise that I tracked ten of the twelve songs on the first take with zero edits. After drums were done, Dave pretty much tracked everything else." (Source, 2010).
1. Arrow in the Heart – Cool guitar effects and power drums open this one. A very original song and sound for this band to open the album. “An arrow through your heart wouldn’t make you stop.” The guitar riffs are different and build momentum as the song progresses. Amazing to think these guys did all of this through e-mail? Cool keys supporting all of the sonic sounds and guitar riffs. Reminiscent of Radiohead, but Witham’s vocals are better. Sonic power opener to get this project started.
2. Homecoming (Victory Song) – Cool effects, slow guitar and synths open this Keane sounding song. But again, Witham’s vocals are better and it is by no means a rip off since Keane seems to have left this sound behind. It also reminds me a little of the Engineers. Very cool Beatles – like riffs running through this and the last song as well. The keys give a nice soft touch to the sound. Witham’s slow delivery really driving home the powerful lyrics and melody.
3. Fall Asleep Again – Definitely a Beatles/Keane feel to the opening of this one. But again, so much better than Keane’s latest work. The drumming is so precise and really lifts the power of this song. “There is no easy way out. There are no ships to recover they’ve all run aground.” The guitar and drum match is so perfect when they play in synch on this one.
4. Static – Soft acoustic and synths before overwhelming drums. A Pink Floyd spacey, Coldplay/Muse/Engineers slow moving wave song. “The static washes me in waves till I’m satisfied.” Yes that captures the feeling of the song so well. One of the best songs on the album. The guitar riffs are so relaxing and well timed. “Satisfied”, yes definitely with this one.
5. (Missing) One Little Light Year – Cool synth effects before blasting guitars and drums. This one has more of a Muse sound to it. But this is better. “Can’t let this go on. Cannot control this.” The synths are excellent during the mid section of this song.
6. The Pieces Fall – Cool synth opening then the drums and guitar begin building a melody and rhythm. “Now they want to spin me all around.” Those familiar Radiohead/Muse/Coldplay type lyrics, but this music makes the message more immediate and desperate. It must be Witham’s delivery. He makes it sound more genuine. “For once in your life.”
7. Nothing Left Undone – Deep bass sounding chords and keys open another of the best songs on the album. Again Witham’s delivery is so sincere. “Hey you…should watch the way you go on.” “The truth is that we’ve won.” “We’re not giving up the world.” Very Muse sounding but again with more power and sincerity.
8. When Will It End? – This one opens with Coldplay like chords and proceeds down some recent Muse - like paths, but again this band provides their own unique signature riffs and drum patterns, intermingled with some Beatles – like chords from Let It Be or Abbey Road. Nice mix of the two generations.
9. Hyde – Another excellent song off the album. The piano and acoustic just setting the perfect mood. That guitar and piano is just perfectly mixed with backing synths and the soft drums. An anthemic piece that is just short of full orchestration which brings to mind the sound of some of Radiohead’s best.
10. What the Scanners See – Cool synthesized guitar chords and effects which just does not last long enough. Cool moody interlude.
11. Blind Spots – Almost a Rush sounding opening to this one. The drums set a great rhythm and melody along with the guitar. Very heavy influence from Muse’s latest, but better, more powerful in the vocal delivery. The Rush like guitar licks adds dynamics missing from Muse’s latest. “We won’t fall back down.” Let’s hope not.
12. Watch You Go – A slow deliberate, almost dirge sound to this one. “We’ll watch you go without a fight.” Orchestration and cool chords surrounding this one. Witham’s vocals echoing the lyrics as the music trails off.
Rating: 8/10 – I like this album almost as much as Muse’s Resistance. The sound is instantly accessible. When you realize it was created by only two artists it amazes you to think they could come out with such a powerful sound. I hadn’t heard of this band or either of its members, so it was a complete surprise. One of my favorite albums of the early fall releases this year.
Reviewed by Prof on September 16th, 2010