Album Review: The Black Tambourines – Freedom


the black tambourines freedomReleased September 4th 2015

Words: Nick Jacques

The Black Tambourines are part of the “Kernow Wave” (a term coined by NME) this is a scene which has emerged out of the sandy beaches of Falmouth, Cornwall which is also where TBT are from too. They play blissed out, scuzzy surf rock with underlining charm and cheek. This is plain to see as they have bucket-loads of it on their debut album Freedom.

Imagine the Velvet Underground checking out the swell and surfing big waves down in Cornwall and you’ve got a good idea of what TBT are about. They’ve been playing together since 2009 and over the years they’ve managed to create a tight, swashbuckling rhythm section that will have all your hands on deck!

The curtain raiser on Freedom is I Wanna Stay and it’s a great example of what this band possesses in their cannon; tight throbbing bass-lines, jangly guitar riffs which sound like they’re going to impede on themselves, blissed out vocal play, hollering backing vocals and break-neck drum sprints – it’s DIY rock thrusted out with guts, sweat and passion.

The next highlight is She Don’t Mind. It’s undeniably the catch of the day! With its glistening beach slacker attitude fitting in effortlessly with a holler-back chorus – this is surely going to be a live favourite that will help them to attract a wider audience.

Namaste shows a more mature side to their musical approach – it plays out like a controlled menace which consists of frenzied guitar seizures threatening to implode on themselves whilst still managing to stay on that surf board – it’s executed with aplomb.

What I find refreshing about this band is that their music contains all that good-old fashioned ethics of what made rock and punk music so enthralling in the first place. TBT aren’t doing anything that is original or high-brow in the slightest but I think they’ve re-ignited a few “flames” here with their debut. It’s about time we had rock bands which did things on their own terms and tried to bring it back to the masses without changing the set-up or aesthetic just to please the majorities.

The Black Tambourines continue to let loose on the ferocious guitar-licks of No Action and John Locke (lost) which really showcase the band’s intentions to play with freedom and without any hesitancy and just enjoy themselves.

Look Down is another sunny slice of blissed out scuzzy surfer rock which again uses the familiar & simple yet catchy formula of a vibrant & hypnotic guitar riff, distorted vocals and hollering backing vocals. This is music that gives you exactly what you want – there’s a strong sense of what you see is what you get kind of attitude. This is music that wants to run away with memorable abandon.

The last track Ride Hard Crash Hard probably sums up best of all of what I have said about The Black Tambourine’s debut album. It’s another frenzied affair that builds up with an impressive murky wave of guitars before succumbing to a blowback of distortion and clattering symbols.

I really hope people embrace The Black Tambourines – they’re a band who have that sound that craves to be back on radio again and winning over sceptics who feel DIY rock is a spent formula on musical ear.

Listen to No Action here:

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