Tancred – ‘Out Of The Garden’ Review
Posted: by Colin
As lead singer of Tancred, Jess Abbott’s approach was always notably scornful, but the instrumentation behind her words was both mild and graceful. Out of the Garden is a pivot from the serene and upset, yet relaxed state that once defined Tancred. Abbott and company made an album that is a logical progression musically, but is unexpectedly slathered with a layer of explosive angst, cynicism, and bitterness.
The ebb and flow of the record is one of euphoric highs and stomach churning lows. Ferociously captivating songs that consist of impassioned, catchy choruses are only to be followed by tracks that are devastatingly dense and slow. The argumentative back and forth between cuts is symbolic of the visible aggression throughout the record. “Control Me” is a contagious track fixed with gentle cymbal taps and layered vocals where Abbott claims, “This is how we learn to be happy, this is how we learn the hard way.” But joyous melodies are cut down by the sputtering “Not Likely,” an abrasive track that Abbott boldly exclaims, “Everything you say to me, flutters out so gracefully, I could catch it like a butterfly and kill it just as quickly.” In pattern, the album’s next two songs “Pens” and “The Glow” follow suit.
The album’s intrigue takes form in its variety. Song structure and pace shifts as the album evolves thematically from confusion to an oppressive struggle culminating in blinding anger and morbidity. The eighth song on Out of the Garden, “Hang Me,” is the record’s slowest and simplest song, but arguably its best. Abbott sheds complexity and abrasive chords and uses the minimalistic nature of song as a vessel to direct attention towards her lyricism, “Do I sink or swim, I don’t really know. Am I the witch you hunt? Hang me, throw your stones.” Make no mistake; this is Abbott broadcasting her bitter disposition in a daring three and a half minutes. It is the album’s keynote address.
Out of the Garden is primarily about Abbott’s personal clash between almost being consumed by her own self-pity, only to have the fortitude to manufacture anger and fight back. The album is about being on the precipice of destruction, only to come back stronger than ever. The result is eleven bruising songs containing hostile one-liners and smashing, distorted instrumentation, forging excessively cool and collected choruses throughout despite Abbott’s hostility. In the end, Tancred has rewritten the instruction manual on how to craft an angry record that is not too caught up in its own emotions.