The Michigan based Tally Hall produced a stunning debut album that garnered quite a cult following. With that initial success behind them, the band sets out to solidify their sound with this duality-themed album. The slow march tempo of “Never Meant To Know” leads to a quickly layered anthem that just grows on you. The next tune “&” is very much in the They Might Be Giants mold, lyrically stating opposites like “weak & strong, wet & dry, etc.” Then the album kicks into high gear with the ear worm “You & Me,” a catchy single you’ll sing long after the song ends.
The combination of catchy chorus and lyrical metaphor is Tally Halls’ greatest strength. Each song here is meticulously constructed, the strongest and most immediate being “Cannibal,” where the metaphorical beast is your girlfriend. The solid harmonies lead a hummable medieval quest called “Sacred Beast” quite nicely. The album takes a moody harmonic turn on “Hymn for A Scarecrow,” a tale that features a psychedelic chorus on the fadeout. The group’s harmonies are strong on each song, especially on “The Trap” and “Out In The Twilight.” The dramatic finale “Fate Of The Stars” is a bit like a rock version of Glee’s Dalton Academy Warblers if Roger Waters was their musical director. Overall, this album demands repeat listens to uncover the brilliant melodies and stories contained here. It makes my top ten list being the most cerebral melodic album this year.
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