Theory Of Tides
Independent release, 2009
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/20/2009
The packaging is nice. The photography is nice. The music… not so much. That’s the nicest way to say that Theory Of Tides (Mirana Comstock is credited with vocals, keyboards, percussion and Rick Comstock with guitar, bass, percussion) have assembled a nice package for garbage. To quote Bill Cosby, imagine your favorite meal served on a garbage can lid.
I am not really sure where to begin with this release. I made it through all of these songs twice, although I admit I picked and skipped through some sections the second time through just because I wanted to get done. It was kind of like getting a colonoscopy -- just do it and get it over with and hope that you never have to do it again. The main problem with these songs is that there is nothing to counterbalance the repetitive drum/keyboard loops that are used. There are no guitar riffs that you can sink your teeth into and, frankly, melody is hard to find, too. This whole release gets repetitive after the first minute. Repetition can work in music -- I’m thinking of Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Possess Your Heart,” which has a hypnotic bass groove to keep things interesting.
However, the comparison stops there because Theory Of Tides does not offer compelling music. Sometimes the lyrics or even the delivery on a release can make up for the material’s other weaknesses. Not so here; I can’t even compliment the vocal delivery. The vocals emphasize what sounds like the wrong syllables and the phrasings sound, well, wrong. When Mirana trills on single syllable words, it’s painful. This is immediately evident in the very first lyrics of opening cut “Unsure” as she sings: “When did I begin resembling / Such a trembling / Leaf on this tree of life / Out a limb just waiting / For something / To blow me away from you.”
I was discouraged after the opening track, so I moved on to “Chemistry Of Tears” and then “This Storm” and then the insanely awkward “Karaoke” with the strange lyrics “It’s all so karaoke / I don’t know who’s talking to me / Oh so karaoke / I don’t know who you want to be.” Karaoke is a noun being used as an adjective. I have no idea what Mirana is trying to tell me. It’s like saying “It’s all so paper clip”; it doesn’t make sense.
The next track is “Soothes,” which has “(Dance Mix)” after the title. I am not sure if that is supposed to excuse the way that the lyrics just don’t match the droning music. The keyboard tone masks that there are multiple notes being played so it sounds like mush. Pop quiz: would you think the following lyrics are in a) an upbeat song or b) in a long, droning, depressing eight-minute-plus track? “Got to party every night till dawn / I hardly ever sleep / Never alone / Buy lots of things / But nothing makes it home.” If you chose b), you are correct, but you don’t win anything but the knowledge that you should not purchase this album.