PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

Tangiers: Never Bring You Pleasure

Adrien Begrand

Tangiers

Never Bring You Pleasure

Label: Sonic Unyon
US Release Date: 2004-06-22
UK Release Date: 2004-07-19
Amazon
iTunes

If they didn't have to be so darn resilient, Tangiers would have become just another pleasant memory among Canadian indie rock fans. Their 2003 debut album Hot New Spirits was a huge success on the Canadian campus radio charts, and had critics all over North America impressed, as songs like "Keep the Living Bodies Warm", "Return to the Ship", and "Ca Va Cool" placed the band at the forefront of Canadian garage rock, right up there with The Deadly Snakes. Late that year, Tangiers practically imploded, as guitarist Yuri Didrichsons and drummer Marco Moniz departed, but to their credit, singer/guitarist Josh Reichmann and singer/bassist James Sayce began working on a second album. When they eventually recruited former Guided by Voices drummer Jon McCann and keyboardist Shelton Deverell (who had already played in Tangiers for a spell), it was obvious that the band's new sound would be somewhat of a departure from the aggressive, double guitar ferocity of Hot New Spirits; how much of a departure, and how successful the change would be, though, remained to be seen.

Such a drastic change in a band's sound is always a challenge, especially when you consider the hype surrounding Tangiers' first album, and the sound on their new record, the hastily-recorded Never Bring You Pleasure, is indeed a bit jarring the first time you hear it. There's a more minimal style present this time around, as Reichmann frantically strums his lone guitar, with Deverell serving up slinky accompaniment on organ, sounding much like Steve Nieve of the Attractions, adding both a gospel element and a sinister reggae feel to the music. The production, by Dale Morningstar, is raw, actually coming close to rivaling the trademark sound of Steve Albini, as Reichmann's guitar sound is noticeably unpolished, McCann's drumming dominates the mix at times, as he thunders away, and vocals often take a back seat to the guitar, bass, and drums, Sayce and Reichmann sounding like they're standing too far away from the microphone, trying to shout over all the noise.

One of the best changes that Tangiers has undergone is the emergence of Sayce as a first rate singer-songwriter, as he and Reichmann serve up contrasting songwriting styles, offsetting each other very nicely. Reichmann's compositions continue in the same herky-jerky vein as on Hot New Spirits, but minus that second guitar, and with Deverell's organ stabs, there's more brooding, and less aggression. You hear it instantly on a song like "Love Rackets", as Reichmann howls over his acoustic guitar and McCann's insistent beat, while Deverell delivers a descending '60s garage lick on organ, before adding touches of disco-fused electric piano in the songs middle eight. "Bones to Match the Heart" (which oddly reminds one of the great Canadian band Simply Saucer) resounds with jittery, caffeinated energy, while "Energy Jaws" has a great little groove in the main riff. His best moment on the album is the terrific "Spine to Necklace", which begins as a crazed, Buzzcocks-fueled dose of punk guitars, but then immediately shifts into a very cool, swinging stomp, as he and Deverell trade irresistible licks.

It's Sayce's contributions, though, that provide the most fun on Never Bring You Pleasure. If the band is ever going to have a song from this album garner attention in the States, it'll be one of Sayce's, as his songs possess a more of a warm, conventional sound, not to mention a fair share of memorable hooks. The simplicity of "I Don't Love You" is endearing, as Sayce howls the soaring chorus, while the propulsive "Walk Run Walk" plows along, driven by Sayce and McCann's rhythm section. The jubilant "I Wanna Go Out" is an ebullient blast of sunny post punk, and the goofy, 60s style pop of "We're So Breathless" matches anything Sloan has done in the past three years, but it's the fantastic "Ro Ro Roland" that provides the album its one great highlight. Boasting an extremely catchy organ melody that mimics Sayce's vocals (much like The Strokes' "12:51"), it seems on the verge of flying off in three different directions at once, and the enigmatic lyrics try too hard at times ("If I love everything at last/How could I ever live with my darkened past?"), but the song somehow stays together for four exhilarating minutes.

The album is far from flawless, as a handful of Reichmann's songs sputter ("I've Been Calling" and the overlong "Your Collour", for instance), and the no-frills, slapdash recording style sounds a bit too rushed at times, but overall, Never Bring You Pleasure is a marked improvement over Hot New Spirits. If these guys can just keep this band together for a while longer than the last lineup, then this certainly won't be the last time we'll be raving about Tangiers. At the rate this band is improving with each album, we should be in for a real treat next time around.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Music

Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.

Books

Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.

Music

Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.

Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

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