Tara Jane O’Neil
You Sound, Reflect
It’s hard to think of a solo artist as an iconic post-rock performer, but Tara Jane O’Neil definitely fits the bill. On You Sound, Reflect, TJO stays in keeping with the genre defining autumnal, nocturnal work of her most recent albums. She maintains a less psychedelic, more restrained, southern version of her American contemporaries like Califone, placing herself closer to the cinematic, cozy sounds of Britain’s Movietone.
On “Howl” and “Without Push,” O’Neil closely follows the more traditional chamber-folk template, but her shy warble is more forceful and strong, haunted with gothic cellos. “The Poison Mine” is a creaking back porch lament displaying the beauty in simplicity, where subtle finger-plucked acoustic guitars and cellos vie for the most elegant melody. “Love Song Long” is predominantly electric/electronic with bass heavy flourishes hanging in the shifting time signatures. “Known Perils,” possibly the best track, is a slow burning shadow strewn funeral dirge steeped in icy reverb.
TJO’s instrumentals are just as lively and engaging as her lyric pieces. “Take the Walking” kicks off with a zombie pulse of keyboards before giving way to a combination of percussive and elliptical guitars. “I Call You” is built on layers of dominoed drones and cascading banjo notes. It’s this ability to join quick-paced dissonance with somber slow-core that puts O’Neil past the point of being merely a reflector of contemporary sounds and squarely in the seat of initiator.
Tara Jane O’Neil: www.tarajaneoneil.com