If you’re going to bother wasting your time trying to be an artist, perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself is to have a sense of humor about your work that comes across as self-aggrandizing. The members of Gainesville, Florida chamber pop conglomerate Tacachale Chamber Orchestra describe their debut record Ocean Floor Funeral as “…The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Smiths and The Bluegrass Boys playing a funeral…” I wouldn’t have summed the record out in quite that way although after turning the phrase around in my head a while and listening to Ocean Floor Funeral several times I get the sense of where the band are coming from.
The six songs on Ocean Floor Funeral definitely contain elements attributed to each of the aforementioned bands, the Beatle-esque psych sound and layered vocal tracks via the Beach Boys, the sad subject matter which Morrissey was able to inject into even his most uplifting songs, and the banjo seemingly creeps into every track.
Ocean Floor Funeral opens with “Wish You Were Him” a Yellow Submarine sounding orchestral pop ditty the feeling of being underwater as it seemingly drifts along with a quiet and stark humming, over which are layered banjo, electric guitar and electronic samples. Tacachale Chamber Orchestra set the mood here, laying out all their effects in the first song and then making sure each of these effects makes its way, however interchangeably into the next five songs. “Side of the Road” pairs orchestral electric strings with a bouncy piano melody and warm vocals. Near the end the banjo creeps in momentarily if only to keep the formula going.
“What's Your Home?” is a Beach Boys likened monk chant, ethereal and the best song on the record. It’s power comes from the harmonization of the multiple vocal tracks and lack of too much instrumentation. “This Verse is Over” and “Don’t Wake Up” are both just a bit over the two-minute mark, but they try to pack so much in both instrumentally and vocally and the songs come off as not fully formed.
Tacachale Chamber Orchestra is definitely onto something good with Ocean Floor Funeral. Their inspirations are solid, though they haven’t quite figured how to take these influences and use them in a less direct way. For all their ambitions, the songs, only one of which hits the three-minute mark, are too short to really leave any sort of lasting impression on the listener.
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