Kevin Tihista’s Red Terror
Last year’s splendid Don’t Breathe a Word was originally conceived as a double album, and Judo collects the songs that were left out from that set. As such, if you’re familiar with that first album, you’ll know what to expect here as well. Tihista’s hushed and orchestrated pop music is as immediately appealing and intricately layered as ever, and fact is, this may even be the better album of the two.
Chicago’s Tihista made a bigger splash in Europe — and in the UK particularly — with his debut than in his native USA. Not his loss. Poised somewhere between pastiche and nostalgia, humor and poignancy, revisiting and re-imagining, Tihista explores the past in a contemporary setting. Early 1970s West Coast and 1960s pure pop craftsmanship is seen in panoramic hindsight and the result is a crafted and considered album that transcends genres and decades to produce music of a timeless quality.
Tihista’s lyrics detail love in its various guises and is both an exploration of and a tribute to the cliches of pop language. “Don’t touch me like that/I don’t want to be felt,” he sings, drawing the picture of a scared, hurt man by a simple turn of phrase. His manner of evoking the past through both music and lyrics is a difficult one, but, in his delicate handling of his material, Tihista more often than not succeeds in making the past matter and make sense.
Parasol Records: http://www.parasol.com