I'm not sure what I was expecting to hear when I first dropped yonder by Tin Star Orphans into the cd player and pressed play. But it certainly wasn't this.
The first track, Juvenile Haul, begins with an intriguing, but not quite identifiable, found sound, merges into some light strumming which starts to build, then kicks in with some authoritative drums, and just as you think you have it figured out, in come the sweetest sounding strings. The song builds and recedes in waves, with each instrument alternately clamouring for dominance and then shying away from confrontation. This instrumental piece is a dance of lovers/fighters circling each other gingerly and sounding so fine together.
Oh, but then, frontman Zachary Bennett's iconic voice rips into the next track Slack-Jaw, and suddenly we are blown into cow-punk territory with a slightly crazed preacher-man leading us by the shirt collar, telling us to listen up. And with another 13 tracks to go after that, you know you are in for a hell of a ride.
This is an album that does not take itself too seriously. In amongst the shit-kicking singalongs fueled by rootsy insanity, there are love songs made bittersweet by Bennett's heart-wrenching voice, a later breezy instrumental piece, and odd little fillers featuring a selection of Plastic Jesus covers.
yonder is an incredible album which takes its name from the band's previous incarnation, and it features a rock solid pedigree of talent, including Dean Marino (whose EX~PO album, Central Meaner Street I reviewed last year) on lead guitar.
yonder will be released nation-wide on Tuesday, and you should definitely pick it up. In the meanwhile, Tin Star Orphans is offering up their single, Let You Down, to whet your appetite. And if you like what you hear, I urge you to check out the rest of the album on Tin Star Orphans' myspace.
You can thank me later.
Let You Down.mp3