Review by Matt Latessa
Ton-Taun is a group of three Philly guys who really know their indie music. Their third LP Get Well epitomizes the indie rock music story. Most of the members have played together since High School. They all write for an underground music blog. They play basement gigs and have opened for everyone from Lavender Diamond to No Age. Get Well invokes an indie rock sensibility that eludes most new bands. They’ve put together a cozy, well organized record that is easy to get to know.
What’s great about Ton-Taun is that they don’t sound like a rookie band. While this is their third official release, they have a sound that is very big, considering there are only three men on the official band roster. Doug, Jordan, and Alex piece together the intricate soundscapes in this album that would be a daunting task for many young bands. And sometimes when listening, you have to actively remind yourself that it’s all done by three dudes. I wouldn’t be shocked if this band’s roster was closer to ten.
Jordan Capizzi, the band’s singer, when asked about the album, noted “The three of us wrote all of the parts to these new songs together. It was a really collaborative album.” This effect comes out on the standout first track “Sobriety Check.” Circa –Being There Wilco acoustic riffs open this ethereal number. Capizzi’s voice is somewhere between Justin Vernon’s iconic falsetto and Morrissey’s theatrical wailing. They know their stuff. The song crescendos into a rolling foot-stomper marked by repeating acoustic chords and eerie vocals.
Then there’s the more stripped-down aspect of the record. “Universal Genius” is a five minute anxiety-ridden acoustic folk tune. “For a universal genius/you never feel so smart/as when you’re turnin’ something/degrading into art” Capizzi all but whispers before the song builds into a triumphant display of noise and melody.
“Color Me Impressed,” is an upbeat sing-along number with the lyrics “I would never admit to be content with fucking up.” That could be taken as a statement for the band as a whole, not just a lyric in a song. You can hear in these songs that they’re perfectionists, and Get Well’s sound is cohesive, but never repetitive. The attention to detail here doesn’t mask the human quality of the band, either. Simultaneously bracing and endearing, the lyrics on each track leave you feeling a bit strange, but in all the best ways.
The album’s namesake song epitomizes the band’s endeavors. The song starts with a delicate piano/guitar combo and feather-light drums. “Fearing the unknown/is a waste/there’s enough that we know/worth being afraid of.” This kind of direct and emotional lyricism pervades the entire album, something that is easy to appreciate. It’s not lofty or cryptic, but still gets the point across. This somber 7-minute masterpiece is about five minutes of lament and two minutes of sonic dissolution. The delicate pianos and guitars break down into harsh guitar pops and grumbling white noise.
Get Well is one hell of a way for the band’s new line up to introduce itself. Jordan, Doug, and Alex have proven just how well they work together as a unit. Whether it’s the upbeat pop of “Color Me Impressed” or the doleful “Get Well,” I don’t think it will be too long before local up-and comers will be opening for Ton-Taun, not the other way around.
The album drops on the band’s bandcamp on November 13, so be sure to get your copy next Tuesday!