As a personal advocate for the acknowledgment of the new golden age of instrumentalism, it is such a joy to see virtuosity blend together with quality songwriting. While the record labels no longer have the funds to push acts, the will to create lives on and is stronger than ever.
Enter Atlanta’s own Little Tybee. Consisting of members Brock Scott (Vocals, Piano, Acoustic Guitar), Ryan Donald (Electric/Double Bass), Pat Brooks (Drums/Percussion), Josh Martin (8-string Guitar), Nirvana Kelly (Violin/Viola), and Chris Case (Keyboard), the sextet is trying to do something new and refreshing.
Loaves of Bread: An uplifting piece of music that can best be described as walking through a park on a sunny day. A mix a little bit of Rusted Root and Deathcab for Cutie but with a lot more emotional depth and better instrumentalization. A very pleasant hook and a melody that makes you want to drive down a country road with the windows down. Brock knows how to hit the emotional tonal centers with his vocals.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job: By far my favorite tune on this record and a totally complete composition from start to finish. Not a single thing is either excessive or out of place. Everyone is just pulling their weight 100% on this track. Its so longing and sad yet not pessimistic, it invokes a sense of melancholy without being draining in anyway. Josh’s guitar playing is leading the way big time while not taking anything away from the composition. Nirvana adds absolutely gorgeous textures with her violin that glide over everything and gives you goosebumps. Ryan playing some seriously great pocket bass as well. If I had to choose one song to show someone this bands potential in one tune I would choose this. Worth the download by itself alone if nothing else.
More Like Jason: A shining example of Josh’s thump guitar being utilized in a fantastically textural fashion. Another very cheerful tune with a great uplifting feel. Nirvana and Josh work great as a unison pair pushing the melody with great enthusiasm. Ryan and Chris break it down at the bridge with a very cool double stop groove that then involves into a Frank Zappa-esque section of nutty guitar. Very enjoyable twist for the Prog heads out there. The song goes from Indie pop to Mothers of Invention. Very crafty songwriting that is most definitely original and fun.
Baritone: This tune is another gem of originality. It has a jam band vibe to it with a nice progressive edge. Kind of if like Steven Wilson killed Jerry and took over the Grateful Dead. Has traces of Porcupine Tree with a lot of texture from everyone in the band. Very nice groove based tune that flirts with the lines of psychedelic prog. The ending gets taken down into a very pleasant decrescendo.
Golden Delilah: A very pleasant ballad that reminds me of a new take on jazz standards. A very romantic sense to the lyrics and phrasing with incredibly musical turnarounds and tags. Brock keeps his vocals restrained and the dynamics in check with a song that would be a beautiful song for a first dance at a wedding. Hits you right in the feels big time. Nirvana as always providing textures that hit those emotional pressure points that we oh so love from a violinist.
The Alchemist: Another song meant for country driving. Picture a spring day driving up the coast and you can kind of imagine this tune. The lyrics are deceptive to the music and tell a story that give a very interesting contrast to the ambience around it. A very pleasant tune with some more great glitch tapping moments from Josh.
Quiet as a Sail: A texturally rich composition with a lot of ambient influences. Parts remind me of everything from Explosions in The Sky to even Opeth. Very melancholy but heart wrenchingly pretty. The guitar for me takes center stage here as it really does goes a ton of texture. At around 3:35 the pace changes up to a very cool staccato groove that once again invokes the bands prog influences.
As we Grow: Very mellow vibe with some more great moments from Nirvana and Josh providing clouds of sonic goodies. Ryan lays down wonderful bottom and provides tension with his bass that anchors things wonderfully. Overall just some really pretty melodic moments that culminate at the end.
Languid: My second favorite track on the record. The intro is so awesome as Josh paints the thump lines that invoke the image of soft rain hitting a pond, with Nirvanas violin again providing whimsical wind type imagery. When the groove kicks in the rhythm, section drives the tune with great force and confidence. This one has my favorite drum performance by Pat the drummer, as he truly branches out here and utilizes his dynamic range. Overall a great tune.
Synopsis: Little Tybees Eponymous release might be the surprise release of the summer. Ranging from lush ambient pieces to full scale prog the album feels like a complete and well thought out piece of art. All the players display great strength and a very serious commitment to melody and dynamics. It’s a 10/10 just for originality but it really shines due to just great songwriting and wonderful performances.