Ramping up the guitar presence and the attitude, Out of the Garden is the third solo album by Now, Now guitarist Jess Abbott, aka Tancred. A nod to the Garden of Eden, the title alludes to rebelling against societal expectations, particularly those placed upon females. Produced by Anna Waronker (that dog.) and Steven McDonald (Redd Kross/OFF!), the album sees Tancred joined by bassist Terrence Vitali and drummer Kevin Medina, who have also accompanied her on tour. The ensemble's hooky, fuzzy guitar pop wears the '90s alt-rock of the Breeders and Weezer like a well-worn zipper hoodie over a solid tee of Midwestern power pop. "Joey" saunters along on a crunchy, melodic guitar riff in quasi-unison with cymbal-heavy drums as Abbott matter of factly opines about not caring that she'll never fit in with the cool kids. Its theme is representative of an album that addresses alienation and resulting independence throughout. "Pens" has a chugging, minor-key verse with a contrasting bright, harmony-rich chorus in which the singer insists that, despite the lingering verses, she's for sure mentally stable. The spare, off-kilter "Hang Me" avoids any satisfying chord resolution, instead creeping with a meandering electric guitar line as she stands up to a lover who's turned against her. An album highlight, "Sell My Head" is the driving, punk-infused jam whose hyper melody addresses a co-dependent relationship in the past tense; she's moved on. Out of the Garden is efficient in presentation, its songs wielding blunt emotion, each under four minutes in length, with the majority clocking in at less than three. It doesn't suffer fools gladly.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson