The third album by Columbus, OH's Tiara kicks off with a self-indulgent piece of found tape noise mongering called "The Extended Forecast" that's as pointless and irritating as most similar experiments. Thankfully, however, it's only a little over a minute long, and after that initial misstep, things improve dramatically. The four-piece band mixes electronic textures into their primarily guitar-based songs in inventive ways, never letting the cool-for-cool's-sake sounds overwhelm the songs. A languorous atmosphere predominates, with indolent vocal harmonies and lazily strummed acoustic guitars the primary element in most of the songs. That narcoleptic atmosphere fits singer Eric Rottmayer's lyrics quite nicely; even the relatively upbeat-sounding "What We've Become" is downright depressive in its world view, and nearly every song on the album has a melancholy tinge to it. As a result, the songs tend to bleed together a bit more than necessary, but tunes like "Grandpa (Turns to Trains)" and the epic, My Bloody Valentine-like closer, "Nowhere Slow," are solidly melodic and musically intriguing enough to overcome that slight handicap.
by Stewart Mason