Forming in May 2014 Tell Tale is a two-piece band consisting of Jackson Kelly (keys, bass, vocals) and Jimmy Higdon (guitar, keys, vocals) that already released an album entitled Moth Season. They recorded it DIY for better or worse and it displays a young band that has some talent but is a work in progress. The quality of the EP isn’t awful but certainly could use some improvements. I like reverb on vocals but in this case it seemed excessive. There were times where they sounded like they were singing a room down the hallway in a mansion with huge rooms. Production aside the EP is rather stripped down relying on an acoustic guitar, sparse percussion and vocals.
The vocal work is sporadic. Sometimes they sound like the singer from Nickelback as in “Drowning For Fun” and other times sound like young nasally punk rockers who aren't old enough to buy a beer yet as in ”Intro.” The most inspired moments are when they harmonize together (“The Ghost Of Tortilla Jackson”).
Among the eight songs there were a number of songs that showed potential in the band. The melancholy “Life Goes On” is well written but the vocal delivery contradicts the emotional appeal of the song. Whoever is singing this song strains his voice so much that it lacks tenderness and instead it feels angry and familiar like that popular over masculine male voice. See Daughtry. Take it down a notch or two.
“Covered In White” is clearly a highlight. The guys sound very good together and the delivery is solid. On top of that the guitar progression isn’t cookie cutter and I thought the sparse piano was a nice touch.
This release plays into a lot of commercially viable elements that could form on the foundation of the band. That being said I would love to see the band reach a bit further as far as the vocal deliveries and styles are concerned. Right now it sometimes sounds derived from commercial rock/punk 101 via 2014 style. Overall, there may be talent and it certainly feels heartfelt but with this release it feels misguided. It might not hurt for them to spin Neutral Milk Hotel or Sun Kil Moon a couple tof imes to further their influences.
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