Tangiers: The Family Myth

Liam Colle

Animated rock and roll never felt so frightening and right as this.


The Family Myth

Label: Baudelaire
US Release Date: 2005-10-18
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon affiliate

There was this cartoon My Pet Monster that I used to watch on the weekend sometimes. Nine or 10 years old, there wasn't much else I wanted to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Not that it was enjoyable, or even entertaining. The show featured a lurking sense of dread and that's what kept me glued. The transformation of Max's plush toy into a walking and talking monster was bizarrely affecting. Everything about the show was feverishly wholesome. At the same time, this monster and his monster past continually threatened the destruction of Max's little life.

Tangiers' The Family Myth reminds me of My Pet Monster. Underneath the sugary colors and domestic bliss something terrible lurks. It's more than fun and it's something else than normal. The mild-mannered pop rock band wrought by the threats of the monster effect. The transformation from docile to dreadful is always waiting, and unendingly off-putting. The Family Myth documents normalcy's capacity to suddenly turn monstrous. Consistently good-natured and off-kilter, Tangiers are preparing for the transformation.

Climbing through the histories of friends and family, pets and lovers, Josh Reichmann and James Sayce make an awfully engrossing racket. Twelve songs stacked with stirring moments and no constancy. Nothing remains certain or solid in The Family Myth. Cluttered with rhythm and melodies this album is hard to keep understood. It cannot be hidden either; its energy and bluntness reject privacy or escapism. This is rock music turned realistically uncertain. Tangiers doesn't know what happens next.

Now it's generally cuddly, but what's saying that Monster doesn't turn and abduct Max's friend Chuckie, or eat his parents? I never could see this pet as entirely tame and Max's life wasn't made any easier by having him around. But his life was not so perfect to begin with. His parents were nowhere to be seen and seemed to banish their son to his treehouse. Max was left to deal with monsters and extra dimensional travel on his own. And as the song goes, "There's something wrong with him."

Guitar and bass and piano and drums, Tangiers deal with their shadows and demons in The Family Myth. It's their third season on disc and the palette is accordingly darker and more speculative. They don't stray far from their comforts, but now the implications extend beyond the dance floor into the living room. Capturing a combination of beauty and dread, the fright of the everyday, this album is irresistible fodder for rainy Saturday afternoons. Still, nostalgic metaphors and protracted impressionism aside, this record is plain right.





In 'Wandering Dixie', Discovering the Jewish South Is Part of Discovering Self

Sue Eisenfeld's Wandering Dixie is not only a collection of dispatches from the lost Jewish South but also a journey of self-discovery.


Bill Withers and the Curse of the Black Genius

"Lean on Me" singer-songwriter Bill Withers was the voice of morality in an industry without honor. It's amazing he lasted this long.


Jeff Baena Explores the Intensity of Mental Illness in His Mystery, 'Horse Girl'

Co-writer and star Alison Brie's unreliable narrator in Jeff Baena's Horse Girl makes for a compelling story about spiraling into mental illness.


Pokey LaFarge Hits 'Rock Bottom' on His Way Up

Americana's Pokey LaFarge performs music in front of an audience as a way of conquering his personal demons on Rock Bottom.


Joni Mitchell's 'Shine' Is More Timely and Apt Than Ever

Joni Mitchell's 2007 eco-nightmare opus, Shine is more timely and apt than ever, and it's out on vinyl for the first time.


'Live at Carnegie Hall' Captures Bill Withers at His Grittiest and Most Introspective

Bill Withers' Live at Carnegie Hall manages to feel both exceptionally funky and like a new level of grown-up pop music for its time.


Dual Identities and the Iranian Diaspora: Sepehr Debuts 'Shaytoon'

Electronic producer Sepehr discusses his debut album releasing Friday, sparing no detail on life in the Iranian diaspora, the experiences of being raised by ABBA-loving Persian rug traders, and the illegal music stores that still litter modern Iran.


From the Enterprise to the Discovery: The Decline and Fall of Utopian Technology and the Liberal Dream

The technology and liberalism of recent series such as Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the latest Doctor Who series have more in common with Harry Potter's childish wand-waving than Gene Roddenberry's original techno-utopian dream.


The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 2, The B-52's to Magazine

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part two with the Cure, Mission of Burma, the B-52's and more.


Emily Keener's "Boats" Examines Our Most Treasured Relationships (premiere)

Folk artist Emily Keener's "Boats" offers a warm look back on the road traveled so far—a heartening reflection for our troubled times.


Paul Weller - "Earth Beat" (Singles Going Steady)

Paul Weller's singular modes as a soul man, guitar hero, and techno devotee converge into a blissful jam about hope for the earth on "Earth Beat".


On Point and Click Adventure Games with Creator Joel Staaf Hästö

Point and click adventure games, says Kathy Rain and Whispers of a Machine creator Joel Staaf Hästö, hit a "sweet spot" between puzzles that exercise logical thinking and stories that stimulate emotions.


The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 1, Gang of Four to the Birthday Party

If we must #quarantine, at least give us some post-punk. This week we are revisiting the best post-punk albums of all-time and we kick things off with Gang of Four, Public Image Ltd., Throbbing Gristle, and more.


Alison Chesley Toils in Human and Musical Connectivity on Helen Money's 'Atomic'

Chicago-based cellist, Alison Chesley (a.k.a. Helen Money) creates an utterly riveting listen from beginning to end on Atomic.


That Kid's 'Crush' Is a Glittering Crossroads for E-Boy Music

That Kid's Crush stands out for its immediacy as a collection of light-hearted party music, but the project struggles with facelessness.


Percival Everett's ​​​'Telephone​​​' Offers a Timely Lesson

Telephone provides a case study of a family dynamic shaken by illness, what can be controlled, and what must be accepted.


Dream Pop's Ellis Wants to be 'Born Again'

Ellis' unhappiness serves as armor to protect her from despair on Born Again. It's better to be dejected than psychotic.


Counterbalance No. 10: 'Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols'

The Spirit of ’77 abounds as Sex Pistols round out the Top Ten on the Big List. Counterbalance take a cheap holiday in other people’s misery. Right. Now.


'Thor: Ragnarok' Destroys and Discards the Thor Mythos

Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok takes a refreshingly iconoclastic approach to Thor, throwing out the old, bringing in the new, and packaging the story in a colourful, gorgeously trashy aesthetic that perfectly captures the spirit of the comics.


Alps 2 and Harry No Release Eclectic Single "Madness at Toni's Chip Shop in Wishaw" (premiere)

Alps 2 and Harry NoSong's "Madness at Toni's Chip Shop in Wishaw" is a dizzying mix of mangled 2-step rhythms and woozy tranquil electronics.

Collapse Expand Reviews
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.