Tara Angell

Tara Angell

Tara Angell

Come Down

Rykodisc

Come Down feels like it belongs in the mid-’90s, mashed into a college radio line-up between Mazzy Star and Innocence Mission. As a former fan of both of those groups, this release comes primed to spur the nostalgia, but where the riffs feel extremely familiar, they also feel dated. Angell’s lyrics also too often toe a line between overly simplistic and repetitive. The problem with Angell’s songwriting is that because it’s so rudimentary there’s little to recommend it over albums that have had time to grow into classics in their own right (see Mazzy Star’s back catalog). When not mired in singer-songwriter mode, Angell produces a couple of gems. “The World Will Match Your Pain” rides on sustained organ chords like the gooey-er moments of bliss pop. It’s fleshed out with full-band accompaniment and a lack of alt-rock posturing. “Untrue” sounds like one of those “girl rock” songs from high school you aren’t embarrassed about listening to now. “Uneven” ekes out a languid unearthly landscape as expansive as a Morricone soundtrack. Likewise on the epic melancholy of the closer “The Big One.”

There’s a slight psychedelic tinge to many of the songs that unfold and fold back on themselves. It’s like seeing that same dusty stretch of highway from a David Lynch film, a little disorienting and confusing, but somehow comforting. Of course, to temper these moments the faux-Stones swagger/studio intimacy of “Bitch Please” feels a little false and “Hollow Hope” is a little too Alanis for its own good. The groundwork for an inventive album is here, but a little more adventurous chord progression and the realization that a chorus can be more than one line repeated ad nauseum will clean up most of this effort’s shortcomings.

Rykodisc: www.rykodisc.com

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