Tamaryn - “Dreaming The Dark” Album Review

posted March 26, 2019 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Scott Perdue

New Zealand born singer-songwriter, Tamaryn, is back with her fourth studio album “Dreaming the Dark.” Diving into an even more synth-based and dream pop-infused style, Tamaryn’s latest album feels refreshing, while also pleasantly reminiscent of the classic synth-pop sounds of the decades that came before her.

Arguably best known for her debut “The Waves” and her relatively notable track “Cranekiss,” Tamaryn has been struggling throughout her career to break into the mainstream. Fully embracing and unapologetic about her 80s influences, Tamaryn invokes a pop aesthetic similar to that of Belinda Carlisle, Tears For Fears and Depeche Mode, meshed with an aggressive and powerful presence reminiscent to that of Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics.

Tamaryn has recently shifted her musical direction towards the alternative aesthetics of artists such as David Bowie and Kate Bush. Her latest record struggles somewhat with differentiating itself and providing enough variety in its tracks to set itself apart.

Opening with the flashy and mesmerizing “Angels of Sweat,” Tamaryn exhibits her impressive ability to create engaging and captivating sonic soundscapes. Her voice resides just above the surface of her flowing beats, in a way that feels both specifically deliberate and yet at the same time effortless.

Keeping up the momentum, the album then transitions to the delicate “Terrified,” which once again is successful at blending Tamaryn’s soothing vocals and pleasant sonic beats.

Tamaryn then increases the tension and presence of her voice, through the sexually charged yet blissful “Path to Love” and the assertive “Fits of Rage.” Able to push the prominence of her voice, Tamaryn emphasizes the strength of her vocals by having her sonic groves splash and raise her voice to the forefront, floating just above the accompanying music.

The album then, unfortunately, reaches a bit of a nose dive with the somewhat unfocused and irritating “Paranoia IV.” The latter half of the record suffers from an apparent loss of direction, Tamaryn’s voice even becomes somewhat drowned by her own soundscapes. The delicate balance she had achieved previously between her voice and her synth work, seems to have been completely lost and disregarded. While the album does remain cohesive, the tracks somewhat blur together and lose their engaging presence.

The album really doesn’t retrieve its energy until the striking and effervescent “The Jealous Kind,” however, by that point it’s almost too late. It ends with the title track, which really doesn’t close the album as definitively as one would expect.

While evidently front-loaded with the album’s best material, “Dreaming the Dark” exhibits some impressive and notable synth work from Tamaryn, while also providing a fair number of tracks that showcase a respectful and successful nod to her influences.

Although Tamaryn has reached an interesting infusion of her own aesthetics and her inspirations, her music is missing a few key differentiators that are hindering her from really sticking out. Hopefully, on a future release, Tamaryn will be able to reassert her voice over her soundscapes, as she has proven time and time again that she is more than capable of doing so effectively.

Rating: 6/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Track: “Angels of Sweat”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Track: “Paranoia IV”

 


Scott Perdue is a sophomore majoring in secondary education. To contact him, email rsp5246@psu.edu.