There is much to satisfy the shoegaze fan with Tallies’ debut album, Tallies, as tracks such as Easy Enough and Trouble will give them ample ammunition. Combined with indie pop, surf rock and a touch of the twee this will also attract fans of Camera Obscura, Belle & Sebastian and that dream subsection of pop.
The band was founded by singer and rhythm guitarist Sarah Cogan and lead guitarist Dylan Frankland, a couple who met in a sound engineering class while attending Algonquin College. Tallies’ sound was fully realised with the inclusion of Frankland’s friend from childhood rock camp, drummer Cian O’Neill, and also bassist Stephen Pitman. After relocating to Toronto, the quartet have played shows with bands like Mudhoney, Hatchie, Sloan, and fellow Toronto band Weaves, rendering it a busy year for Tallies.
Sarah took music lessons from a young age, learning simple piano melodies and guitar chords that she could sing and write lyrics over. Frankland has also been immersed in music for most of his life, influenced by the likes of The Smiths, The Sundays, Aztec Camera, and Cocteau Twins, there is clearly references within this album.
With textures to the tracks that make it sound more carefree, these sounds are the backdrop to lyrics that confront the anxieties and uncertainties of growing up. Trouble, despite being a song about naivety and being unable to foresee forthcoming danger, is prime dream-pop, with that bass and those drums. On anthemic Beat The Heart, Cogan mourns “the lack of empathy that exists so strongly today.” It’s a great track for Cogan’s vocals alone, never mind that riff and drum combination, which renders it a stunning shoegaze, reflective track. Mother touches on the transition from an adolescent, dependent relationship with your parents to a mature, independent one. It also drags you back to the nineties to the peek of bands like The Pastels and Teenage Fanclub. Motherly advice is one that we don’t seriously consider and value until we too are independent adults, and Cogan explores this with this nostalgic track, which will also leave you head-bopping. Album closer Easy Enough reflects on the impact that humans and relationships can have on one another, “it’s not easy, you know, to give you up,” an album relative to it’s listeners, easy on the ears however with the elements of surfer dream-pop in abundance.
The album was co-produced by Frankland and Josh Korody at Toronto’s Candle Recordings, where locals like Austra, and Weaves have produced and recorded their records. It’s also where Frankland works as an engineer/producer. Tallies not so much hit you square in the face with their universal coming-of-adult lyrics but somewhat soften it with these upbeat melodies. A band to watch out for, Tallies’ self-titled debut album will be well-received, intriguing the ears of many indie, shoegaze listeners.
Tallies is out on 11th January, via Fear of Missing Out Records.