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Tartar Lamb - Sixty Metonymies CD (album) cover


Tartar Lamb



3.19 | 23 ratings

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4 stars Rating: B+

They've already made wave upon wave in Kayo Dot (and are sure to make more with the new release scheduled for March '08), but Toby Driver and Mia Matsumiya have also shown that they can do the same in a different setting, in this case the far more minimalist Tartar Lamb. Their debut CD, Sixty Metonymies, is vastly removed from the world of Kayo Dot. There's no metal, no jazz, no post-rock - in fact, there's no rock at all. Instead, the listener is treated to avant-garde (though not entirely inaccessible) classical music.

Whereas Kayo Dot's music is characterized by its climaxes and the buildups to them, there isn't anything comparable in the music of Tartar Lamb. The energy level stays relatively constant for the duration of Sixty Metonymies, and its always low. There isn't the slightest hint at a climax. Why then, is Sixty Metonymies so successful? Because it, quite simply, doesn't need any climaxes to make its point. The lack of climaxes does not imply a lack of tension, and it's indeed the tension that's omnipresent on Sixty Metonymies that makes it such a masterpiece. The tension of each moment draws you to the next, hoping for a resolution, but the resolution isn't delivered until the end of the CD. Sure, each track has it's own mini-resolutions, but there always remains enough tension to keep the listener hanging on.

Not only that, Sixty Metonymies is undeniably beautiful. It may be inaccessible due to the lack of any hooks whatsoever, but it also doesn't have any glaringly avant-garde moments that would scare off the listener. While it may seem boring at first, as repeated listens reveal the substance behind the beauty, it starts to make sense and proves to be a masterpiece. It may not be as exciting as Kayo Dot's music, but it's just as good. Those who don't like Kayo Dot would probably do well to stay away, but if you like what Kayo Dot does so well, Tartar Lamb is the next place to go (along with Toby Driver's excellent solo CD).

Pnoom! | 4/5 |


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