ALBUM REVIEW: TIÑA – POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH MUSIC (SPEEDY WUNDERGROUND)
Photo: Tom Delion
After appearing on Speedy Wundergrounds year 4 compilation almost a year ago I never quite understood why Tiña didn’t get the same kind of recognition as other bands that made their way onto it like Squid and Black Country, New Road did. ‘I Feel Fine’ was the single that featured and it was enough to get me on tender hooks waiting for their debut the following year. Finally, now that it is out, all of my faith and intrigue seems to have paid off tenfold, mixing drowsy melancholy with trippy joy, absurdism with simplicity, Pixies with Neutral Milk Hotel and angelic screeches with dejected drones you will struggle to find an album that accomplishes more in 2020.
Opening with ‘Buddha’ you’re immediately met with a serene calmness that seems to run through the album even when you can’t work out where its coming from. A drone runs underneath the song and the chorus peaks with the same intensity as a song like ‘Sex and Candy’ making for one of the most memorable tracks on any album, let alone this one. This then leads to ‘Rosalina’, pushed forward by a drudge-y bassline and guitars that sound like they’ve been ripped from a spaghetti western score. “Oh Rosalina, I had to kill her.” This opens up into what could easily be a junkie’s confessions lyrically but delivered with the warmth and remorse of a Sharman, transcends, leaving the listener in a state of limbo before being smacked back into an acid-soaked daydream with ‘I Feel Fine’. Fast paced for the album and with lyrics like “dicks in the sky, vaginas in my mind” you don’t have to be a Tiña fan to know that this song is leading single worthy. With a riff that at times echoes the crunchy breaks of ‘Say it Ain’t So’ by Weezer, this song comfortably adds another string to what is already an impressive bow, especially only being three songs in.
‘Rooster’ and ‘Closest Shave’, tracks four and five, are beautifully dreamy indie tracks each in their own unique way, hitting the same note whilst taking the listener on different journeys. ‘Rooster’ taking you on a walk through the clouds, whilst ‘Closest Shave’ opts for a trip along a lazy river fit with Pink Floyd references, dog howls and synth and guitar sounds that at this point aren’t surprising but still impressive in how they sustain a sense of tranquillity. This bleeds into the next track ‘Growing in Age’, leading the listener to believe that the experience will carry on for another three minutes or so. Vocally going back to the soothing drone but pushing it to 11 and exploding in the last minute to something that the listener assumed wasn’t possible on an album like this, showing as much intensity as a Kurt Cobain, Johnny Rotten and Muddy Waters before abruptly finishing, leaving you sitting there, wide awake, wandering what the fuck just happened.
‘New Boi’ then proceeds to do the musical equivalent of an old timey British policeman saying “Move along, nothing to see here”, reverting back to what the guts of the album has been. It can’t hold the intensity back well enough though as ‘Golden Rope’ smashes through the cordons and screams its way back into our lives. ‘It’s No Use’ follows, acting as a sort of dejected realisation that the anger previously expressed is pointless with the delivery of an apologetic better half after an argument the night before. Finishing with the tracks ‘Dip’ and ‘People’ Tiña decides to end it the only way I assume he can, with a gently psychedelic lullaby that can best be compared to the later hours of a day spent with 2CB and close friends, before exploding into a final joyous hurrah for everything the album has given us.
Not only has Tiña produced one of the best indie albums of the last year it is quite easily one of the most needed, reminding us all that maybe everything has been shit and maybe it won’t get better tomorrow but fuck it, an album like Positive Mental Health exists so we’ll all be fine.