Photo by Daniel Abide.
The Tills’ new record “Canon” is thoughtfully unkempt and unpredictable at times, catchy yet familiar. Each song could easily find its way onto a mix tape (from back when such things were actually on tapes), and usually lodged inside the tape player of a Chevy Celebrity.
To start, a few things are quickly apparent about this album: The production quality is top-shelf. Not surprising since “Canon” came out of Fidelitorium, a studio widely known for quality recordings. But honestly, The Tills could’ve recorded this album in a dilapidated garage, and people would’ve still loved it.
Additionally, “Canon” is an album with plenty of character, which is interesting because on the surface, it seems that this band’s shtick is to plug in, play hard, and not get too involved with depth, complexity, or an intended message. But this doesn’t change the fact that every member of The Tills artfully integrates thoughtful affect, compositional prowess and a willingness to deviate from whatever might be considered their sound, which can be heard in “Why Don’t You Love Me.” The Tills have a capability of making the listener think that the band is sort of effortlessly dishing out such solid material.
The drums in parts of “Why Don’t You Love Me” don’t even sound like drums, but more like each member is beating one of those large sheets of metal used to improvise the sound of thunder in movies and sitcoms. The pitch-shifting guitar solo towards the end of “I Swear It” is chaotic and antithetical to perhaps the more commonplace cock-rock solo that would typically accompany the genre. The bass steals the show in the song “Rejection,” a welcomed departure from otherwise filling out the overall sonic presence of the strings. The vocal harmonies in “Cold Ones” have a refreshing yet stripped-back, live quality, while the bass shows out the most in “It’s Alright.”
The Tills aren’t just a surf/psyche rock band that unknowingly emulates bands or ideas that have come before them—they have a multitude of interesting and creative aspects that make this band something special. They’re conventional enough within their sound that ”Canon” would rope in practically anyone, but they carry enough unique flair, bravado and a clear sense of humor that it feels fresh and clever.