It’s been four years since the release of Rom Com, the debut full-length from Dublin’s Tandem Felix, and this time around, things are a little bit darker.
On There’s A New Sheriff In Town, David A. Tapley and company shift towards an altogether more cynical, jaded tone, with questionable tales of lost love and neurosis across its nine tracks. Its also a more accomplished album, but while the newly improved nuances of Tapley’s lyricism reveal more of themselves over time, the expansion of his sonic territory is the more immediate and obvious development.
Co-produced with long-time collaborator Stephen Dunne, with Neil Dexter on drums, Tapley plies his craft to much of the instrumentation himself but also plays host to a number of guest collaborators, most notably B.J Cole whose lap-steel guitar has been played generously throughout the album.
Compositionally, Sheriff is a captivating proposition. Take lead singles ‘Message of the Afternoon’ and the title-track, the former a demonstration of Tapley’s multi-faceted approach to layered, textured songcraft, seamlessly melding electronic and acoustic instrumentation, the latter an introspective piano-led lamentation.
Stylistically, too, there is plenty of diversity to enjoy, ranging from psychedelic and alternative country sounds on album opener ‘Finger on the Button’, the washed-out, lo-fi Amerindie inspired ‘The Kitchen’, the sparse balladry of ‘Watching TV for the Hell of It’ or the rolling, reverb soaked ramshackle of closer ‘The Losing Streak’.
Overall, There’s A New Sheriff in Town is a testament to its creator’s bold, experimental and meticulous approach to songwriting and production alike. While washes of ethereal keys and sun-bleached melodies have long been weapons in Tandem’s arsenal, here they have been subverted. It’s a marked tonal shift, and a marked progression from its predecessor.