At first, I didn’t know what to make of Tidelands’ latest EP Old Mill Park because of how diverse it is. As I listened more, I discovered that what ties the album together is the fact that every song is so distinct in its sound, making the listening experience quite the adventure.
Opener ”Old Mill Park” begins with a calming guitar intro. Gabriel Leis’ voice quickly enters and the coolness in his voice furthers the relaxing feel of the song. As the lyrics say, “drifting on, drifting on”; it’s as if your mind is drifting on to a much more peaceful place. The track has a very Shins feel to it.
“Dog Named Bart” begins with a much more classical instrumentation, primarily through the use of strings. You can begin to understand why they call themselves “Orchestral Indie Rock.” The adorable lyrics paired with the back-and-forth, male-to-female vocalization really transform this song from a potential classical ballad to a more cheerful orchestral folk song.
The aptly named “Four Strings and a Wooden Box” interlude in the middle of the album is exactly as the title states: a classically brilliant cello/violin interlude. It’s interesting that the interlude begins with more hopeful-sounding notes and transitions into more minor, dreary ones. The interlude really serves as a good transition for the collection from the two more upbeat songs to the three more complex and dark ones.
“Hole in the Ceiling” immediately follows the interlude with a distinctly flamenco feel. The use of brass instruments with the traditional flamenco guitar melodies really add this dark Latin American sound to the song, throwing a unique twist into the listening experience.
“Brown Eyes” and “Low Roller” both have a lovely mellow sound. The band uses a melodic vocal harmonization to add a calming effect, much like what Milo Greene does in their music. The use of the electric guitar paired with the sensual lyrics brings “Brown Eyes” from mellow to sultry.
Closer “Low Roller” ties the album together beautifully. The long track clearly has two parts separated by a distinct midpoint, where the song turns from more of a vocal-driven track to an instrumentally driven one. Through a repetitive beat, the song slowly revs up to the final closing section. The final set of lyrics begin with the phrase “turn the lights down ma” which gently nudges listeners into the direction that the outro moves toward. The end of Old Mill Park leaves its listeners in a calm sleep-like state through beautiful instrumentation and rest-encouraging lyrics. Tidelands’ “Old Mill Park” is definitely worth the buy.–Krisann Janowitz