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Tara Jane O'Neil, "A Raveling"

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coverAfter a few years of absence, Tara Jane returns with only a four song EP, but it's beautiful enough to wet my appetite in anticipation from her forthcoming release that's currently being promised later this year.



I sit and look at a massive pile of CDs in my apartment, it builds higher every day with more discs aching for coverage.  A number of them are from groups who have gained a sizable amount of credibility for their free-form style of conventional and classical instrument playing but disregard for convention and, unfortunately for the most part, a lot of them severly lack the amount of dedication it takes to write good songs, arrange melodies and harmonies, and skilfully perform. This is when a small, unassuming EP like A Raveling suddenly becomes one of my favorite releases of the year.  

This EP is a slice of heaven. The songs are the main focus, with Tara Jane's delicate voice and her famous guitar playing in the foreground, while other noises (bowed instruments, droning noise makers, extraneous sounds) are only incidental, adding color.  "All Mine Eyes" is a perfect reintroduction, especially with the line "awake as the dream fades." It opens with atmospheric hums and develops into fingerpicked guitar melody with her voice double tracked, harmonized, sung with an open voice.  It begins to drift off into bliss and deftly swoops into the second tune, the faster, more upbeat "Don't Slip." Here, bowed instruments assume the role of adding color. (They sound like cymbals at first but over time more closely resemble strings of some sort.) While Tara's described this type of affection for sounds as "noise" I have always considered her use of other instruments quitedeliberate, well-arranged, and perfectly placed. They never take away the focus of the song's main melody.

"Pretty D" is probably my current favorite song on the single, welcoming whoever D is to sing their songs for Tara. Unsurprisingly it's got a very warm and inviting feel to it, and an endearing heartbeat pulse. The EP closes with a Judee Sill cover, "The Phoenix," but the acoustic rendition with what could be a melodica fits Tara's repertoire quite perfectly. But then it's suddenly over. 16 minutes passes quickly but according to her website, there's at least another single to look forward to this year before that new album surfaces.  I'm ready.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 May 2006 14:09  


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