Reviews:: The Be Good Tanyas Hello Love

The Be Good Tanyas have made name for themselves with a unique blend of folk, blues, honky tonk, and blue-grass cemented in a pop casing. I've always thought of the trio as a residency band that gained fans with each show, but never stepped away from the elements that made them so fun.

The record, as usual, is a mix of spirited originals and innovative covers. The way the girls blend their own original work with covers from different eras without missing a beat is what makes their records so great. It helps the girls capture a jam session atmosphere when they record, recreating the intimacy and sincerity of a show with every listen.

The opening track, Human Thing, starts with some gentle strums and a harmonica solo that almost sounds like they are checking the levels. I picture the band using this song to start a set in a tiny club; the gentle sounds prompting people to stop talking and clanking glasses. As the sounds slowly build, the girls grab your attention and don't let go.

Unlike Chinatown and Blue Horse, this record exposes the girl's almost angry side. Their take on Neil Young's From the Turnstiles reminds me of Sunday night's at the Cloak and Dagger, where musicians simply showed up and played whatever instruments were there. The kick drum could easily be replaced with an emphatic foot stomp on a hardwood floor.

For me, the only hiccup on the record is the ill fated cover of Prince's When Doves Cry. Much like Dave Grohl covering Tiny Dancer, this almost plays as a joke that goes on too long. I have no doubt the girls reworked this song with sincerity, but to me it's such an unmistakable track that you can't really make many changes without coming up short. But, like any great show, a fun cover is something you can throw in to win a few smiles.

The girls refuse to stay in one genre on this release, but the record is seamless. Traditional songs like Out Of The Wilderness flow naturally into the band's originals and modern covers, probably because of how well their voice work together (the harmonies on Ootischenia are stunning). Mixing touching ballads (Song for R), honky-tonk piano plunks, gentle slaps on a stand-up bass, gritty blues riffs, and the trademark banjo picks, the girls really explore all of their influences. It's not too often you could hear a Neil Young cover, spliced in with a Prince track and traditional folk songs, but as always, these girls make it work. That's why I love the album artwork so much. Their sound is a patchwork combination of styles that fit together with bold stitching, but keep you warm and feeling safe.

Long story short: It's another great record by this Vancouver trio.
MP3:: Human Thing

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