Album Review: Good & Evil – Tally Hall
In a perfect world, music listeners would have the power to distribute fame and fortune to deserving acts, the four artists that flood the radio would have to share their platform with new musicians, and Lady Gaga would have to wear that meat dress everyday.
Unfortunately, the music world is not an accurate model of fairness and cooperation. This has resulted in many acts being overlooked, underplayed, and above all – underpaid.
Tally Hall, a Michigan rock band founded in 2002, boasts a resume that many local acts would kill for – but this is no ordinary act. The group has appeared at Lollapalooza, SXSW, MTV’s You Hear It First, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson twice (performing their single “Good Day” upon first visiting).
In addition to their live performances, the Ann Arbor based group has been featured on television’s The O.C. (Music from the OC: Mix 6), The Sims PC game series (The Sims 2: Apartment Life), and a Crayola 3D sidewalk chalk commercial (“The Whole World and You” can be heard as chalking children have their minds blown by 3D technology.)
Known for their colorful tie donning, the current roster includes: Rob Cantor (yellow-vocals/guitar), Zubin Sedghi (blue-vocals/bass), Ross Federman (gray-percussion), Joe Hawley (red-vocals/guitar), and Andrew Horowitz (green-vocals/keys).
A quirky mechanized shop in Farmington Hills inspired the group’s first album, Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum – the only business left within Orchard Lake Road’s shopping plaza once known as Tally Hall. How local can they be?
Tally Hall’s newest album, Good & Evil, was recorded in fall of 2009 and is available June 21, on both digital and vinyl formats. The highly anticipated album has been in creation for six years with Atlantic Records, however, the album will be released through Quack! Media – a Michigan label.
“You & Me” – Tally Hall
Good & Evil highlights a patient group’s masterpiece, produced by Tony Hoffer (Beck, Depeche Mode, Belle & Sebastian). Riddled with harmonized down beats, the album puts Sgt. Pepper, a Fender Stratocaster, a kaleidoscope, and a box of Crayola 3D sidewalk chalk in a blender – and presses shred.
Not only is Good & Evil catchy, it’s childishly psychedelic. Lifting melodies are produced by a wide variety of instruments while Hawley’s hypnotizing voice and climbing guitar riffs soften grown-up lyrical topics.
The album’s second track titled, “&”, is a fuzzy classic. The sporadic voice harmonization leaves ears craving more, and the use of chimes along side a Beck-like synthesizer turns a whimsical tune into a badass anthem. “&” is a busy melting pot of instrumentation, however, the organization offered by studio conducting causes the flurries of sound to align perfectly. This song has one fault – there isn’t enough of it.
“Turn the Lights Off,” Good & Evil’s tenth entry, has the power of a chugging drum-led pop classic. The lullaby themes insinuated by tubas, jewelry box tinkling, and high-end harmonies are interrupted by a heavy Gameboy 8-bit synthesizer. Zelda anyone?
Concluding the album is the harmonized opus, “Fate of the Stars.” The twang of the clean guitar down beats, and haunting scale-work of an unadulterated piano make for a perfect space ballad. Similarities between Tally Hall’s “Fate of the Stars” and The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” is undeniable – a faint echo rather than a photocopy. The track remains further proof of tantalizing subject matter, as well as advanced musical techniques.
This album is a must-have. Listeners can expect to feel as if they have entered a 24-hour balloon store. This album will lift your spirits, enhance your faith in local acts and have you questioning, “why aren’t these guys multi-millionaires again?”
Tally Hall Good & Evil release show July 22 at the Blind Pig.