(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Monday, March 22, 2010

CD review - Tiny Tide, The Wildheart EP (2009)

Tiny Tide is a pop band out of Cesena, Italy and their name is intended to be a poke at the pretentious "New Wave" label. Even so, The Wildheart EP kicks off with The Smiths and the Cure, which has a serious new wave sound straight from Bauhaus. Part of it is that Mark Zonda's voice reminds me a bit of Peter Murphy and the bass intro reminds me of Bela Lugosi. That mood lasts until the bridge, where a more modern pop aesthetic takes over until the verse comes around. It's got a tight groove and is a great start, albeit a bit different than anything else on the EP.

More typically, the songs remind me of Gruppo Sportivo, between Zonda's accented English and pop sensibility. He even sounds a bit like Hans Vandenburg. Needful Things has a sweet bass and piano accompaniment to a simple vocal (the live link skips the piano). While the intro has a touch of Billy Joel, the Gruppo Sportivo comparison is most apt. Take the piano from the intro to Sportivo's Armee Monika and the vocal from One Way Love and you're close. Still, even though Tiny Tide has a deep love of retro pop, the music isn't too cloying as they tend to cut it with a more modern use of noise and mild sampling.

Road to Fairies is another very pleasant song, built on a foundation of finger picked guitar. The smooth arpeggios, distant vocal, and tasteful strings come together to form a satisfying whole. It's a beautiful ballad. The touches of echoed keyboard hiding in the background add a little bit of musical depth that foreshadows the keyboard solo bridge.

Stylistically, The Wildheart EP avoids having a clear genre -- the unifying theme is a love of retro pop. Still, there are some interesting musical moments waiting for you here. Sample a Campari Negroni and let the Tiny Tide roll in.

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