Thursday, October 4, 2007

Good Arrows

I often find myself criticized for disliking folk music and singer songwriters. Sometimes it's just tough for me to find the "beauty" in someone crooning over soft acoustic guitar strums. If more folk artists want me to listen to their music, they should take a quick lesson from Tunng. The British collective use some traditional folk structures, but add their own distinctive twist.

Tunng uses an array of percussion "instruments" which include anything but a traditional drum kit. Driven by this unique percussion, electronics and other instruments are wielded to add more depth to Good Arrows. This electronic instrumentation is not new to Tunng; their previous work has appropriately earned them the classification of "folktronica."

What is new to Tunng is consistently good songwriting. On previous efforts, songs seemed to be stretched to fit the obscure instrumentation rather than the instrumentation fitting great songs. "Bricks" exemplifies this change as it begins with guitar bends over a reversed sample. An acoustic strum is introduced and quickly accompanied by bells, synthesizer, percussion, and more reversed samples. Relaxed and melodic vocals fill not only this song, but the entire album with catchy melodies and perfectly placed harmonies. Personal favorite "Bullets" is driven by a beat that sounds like it is carried out through rattles and stomping and a bouncy bass and synthesized horn section.

In addition to almost perfectly crafted songs, Genders' lyrics are spot-on. Just like music, Genders perfectly fits unique imagery to the songs. "He crawls into her aorta / To pull him out of his reverie / And mentally puts her back together / With sticks and glue until she breathes" he sings on "Hands."

Tunng has put together a very solid effort here, truly exploring the bounds of folk. Meshing together a multitude of samples, percussion techniques, synthesized sounds, and consistent songwriting, Tunng gives us one of the better releases of the year. Perhaps I should give folk more of a chance - no - Perhaps folk artists should be more like Tunng.

Tunng - Bullets


Liz said...

hmm.. everyone's entitled to their own opinions. If you don't like singer/songwritters and or folk music that's your choice. I guess it's just whether or not you "call someone out" so to speak on what THEY like instead of accepting it I suppose.

Tunng is interesting,a good interesting though, I like them.


June 16th said...

made me wanna get tunng