By Laura Ohata
Northwest Asian Weekly
The only guarantee in life is that things change. Seattle’s up-and-coming band, Tangerine, released a new 7-song EP entitled “Behemoth!” on October 23rd that deals with the subject of change on a large scale. When asked about the title, bandleader Marika Justad says, “One of the songs is called ‘Tidal Waves,’ which is the larger theme for the album, large-scale change in my life, and everyone else’s life as well.” Overall, the 7-song EP serves up danceable beats. Sweet vocals float on sparse melodies and edgy chords reminiscent of the Velvet Underground, and Television’s 1973 album “Marquee Moon.”
Tangerine officially formed only two years ago, in January of 2013. But, by 2014, the quartet had performed at South by Southwest, Bumbershoot, and the Capitol Hill Block Party. In the process, the group released three recordings including the most recent release, “Behemoth!,” professionally produced by Martin Feveyear of Jupiter Studios in Wallingford.
The band got the name “Tangerine,” from the famous Led Zeppelin song on the Led Zeppelin III album. Marika Justad leads the band and serves as the main singer. She also strums rhythm guitar.
Toby Kuhn plays lead guitar, while Ryan Baker is on bass. Marika’s sister, Miro, plays blistering drums. All four members sing in harmony.
Although the songs on “Behemoth!” sound very different stylistically from one another, they tend to deal with similar subjects. “The music can be very poppy,” says Marika. “But, ‘You’ll Always be Lonely’—that song clearly has a heartbreak ring to it. “
When asked about their inspiration, Miro and Toby claim old-school roots in Miriam Makeba, Dave Brubeck, and Miles Davis, and the bossa nova beats from Antonio Carlos Jobim. Toby says, “Miro and I are stuck in our ways.” Marika and Ryan say they tend to like more contemporary music.
When asked about their favorite achievements with “Behemoth!” Miro says, “The ending of ‘I Fall Down’ with all the layered harmonies, that’s probably one of my favorite parts.” Ryan says, “Just in broad strokes, just hearing it for the first time, what we sound like in a really good studio. We didn’t know, the capacity we had before this album. It is really satisfying what we’ve done with a great producer and a great studio and a great plan of attack. Every time I listen I am proud of it.” Toby says, “In the studio I liked being able to add in these extra ideas, and lay it on top of myself… ‘Tiny Islands’ is trippy and psychedelic, the layers of background vocals totally transformed it.”
Tangerine’s lyrics on “Behemoth!” hint of maturity. “You’ll Always be Lonely,” shows self-confidence in spite of pain. Instead of taking a breakup personally, it is a warning to a lover that they will always be lonely because they can’t commit to a relationship. “Tidal Wave” is about a long-term relationship going through tough times, and regret for not trying harder. “I Fell Down” is a crooning torch song about the return of true love. “Tiny Islands” is about killing boredom with a lover. One of the more danceable tracks on the album, “Runes” is a song about the juncture between youthful exploration and settling down into early adulthood. (end)
Tangerine’s harmonies weave the voices of two women and two men over post-punk melodies. In the end, “Behemoth!” leaves listeners feeling sweet and sour, but always hungry for more. To purchase “Behemoth!” visit http://tangerineband.com or download it on iTunes.
Laura Ohata can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.