Tara Jane O'Neil – Where Shine New Lights (CD Kranky)
4AD label eeriness, that is the remaining impression after having listened to Where Shine New Lights by Tara Jane O'Neil or TJO. Also uneventful might apply, but somehow in a positive way.
With 12 beautiful and sad revelations TJO finds a fitting connection with that typical shoegazer’s shy otherworldliness and sounds genuine when she wonders about This Morning Glory and Elemental Findings. With its heartbreaking melodies seeking for naďve and non-existing reality, the risk of floating randomly adrift is continuously present, and although there’s nothing wrong with that in first place, I wonder how it would have sounded if from time to time some winds started to blow to give it direction. Large amounts of echoes and reverb create an otherworldly drowsiness, over which O'Neil’s fragile voice floats as a siren calling for healing but somehow it sounds destined to becoming wordless as it gets lost in the thick layer of reverb.
Things even get better approximately half way (side 2 if you want), where nuances are the right modifiers, when melancholy wins over melody, starting with ‘Elemental finding’ and ‘All Now Vibe’, relatively short jewels but where O'Neil really shines. TJO exposes seemingly a lot of herself but keeps parts out of sight and I believe that’s the strength of this album, and no matter how hard one tries, the riddle remains. Combined with the druggy and hazy atmosphere, large parts of the tracks sound like an ever expanding fog where sunbeams sometimes peak through, and in which the temperature stays at a too low level to successfully evaporate the mist to reveal what is underneath. Below this miasma of sheer innocence, ONeil sharpens intentions, comes of age and mirrors this with reflections of yesterdays happiness. PvdG.