Tamarin: Shake the Ghost
Tamarin: Shake The Ghost– Tamarin‘s Shake the Ghost plays much like a waltzing dream. The sleep is not peaceful, but rather probing, rough-edged, pleading and most of all, deeply introspective. Tamarin’s debut album sounds as if it were recorded in the desperate, basement hours of a Monday morning before your hateful real-person job kicks in. It sounds like it has to happen. Exactly as music should. Lead vocalist Alex Malamy croons and creaks a la Connor Oberst. His style is one of unapologetic human voice. He and supporting vocalists may not have the smoothness of pop stars (or the help of auto tune), but that is exactly where their beauty shines.
Shake the Ghost is all about unhemmed edges, frayed borders, and seemingly unfinished songs. True, each song ends, in fact many are quite brief (most tracks hit three minutes or less), but there’s something eternal about Tamarin’s simple use of acoustic and vocals as their center piece. In fact, my main complaint is that key tracks like the finale ‘Tatala’ explode into layers of horns, wailing guitars, and percussion when I believe that break down of crying voices and hollow acoustic would’ve been much more haunting and perhaps soulful. This is not to say Tamarin’s sound is over done, not at all. This reviewer simply admires the complete rawness of their recordings. It sounds like it were recorded in a crowded bathroom of some urban studio apartment and that precisely is why it sticks so firmly in my mind as simple good music.
Lyrically, Shake the Ghost is a diary unbound. It’s confessional without feeling sorry for itself. This is most wonderfully presented tracks like the brief, but brilliant ‘Sound Of’ or the ethereal ‘Helen’s Forest.’ Tamarin’s debut is an unpolished and ragged intimate concert. It should speak to the dreamer and the cynic in you. It speaks simply and powerfully. Listen to Shake the Ghost and should you wind up in your bedroom with your inner demons and memories harmonizing into the AM, thank your lucky stars you were truly listening… 8.9/10