The past four years for indie pop band Tally Hall have been tiresome to say the least. After seeing their first album, Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum (MMMM), gain ground and a healthy fan base, the Michigan quintet was dropped by Atlantic Records after just a two year stint. However, the label separation came after they had found themselves in the studio with producer Tony Hoffer (Beck, Belle and Sebastian) to record a much anticipated second album. Since then they have toured nearly non stop, released a ten episode web series, and tried desperately to find the right people to release their second album. So after five long years and backing from Quack! Media, a sophomore effort has finally come forth -A brand new, slightly wiser record titled Good & Evil (Emphasis on the ampersand).
The album is never short on a few things. There isn’t a song to be found on Good & Evil that isn’t a team effort with vocals. Most songs feature and are highlighted by three or four part harmonies during their pinnacle moments. The heavy hits that come from songs like “Never Meant to Know”, “Who You Are”, and “Misery Fell” wouldn’t have nearly the same weight without the bands knack for perfectly pitched interweaving vocal patterns. These guys are very talented singers and aren’t afraid to push their own boundaries to see how far a song can go.
For a casual listener, however, songs can at times can present a campy experience. That or something comparable to the feeling of being trapped in a video game soundtrack. While fast paced numbers like “Turn the Lights Off” and “Sacred Beast” bring the fun and will delight fans of the first album, they are by no means the most ear friendly of the bunch. This album will require more than one listen through to be completely on board.
With that in mind, one very satisfying element present all through Good & Evil is growth. The Tally Hall universe is expanding. The first album was written by college/ post collegiate early 20 somethings heading out into the world. The passing years and life experience have treated this band well. You wouldn’t find the depth of “Fate of the Stars” or the musical prowess of “&” from an early Tally Hall. The four primary songwriters in the band have all grown in separate yet cohesive directions that makes Good & Evil a much more complete album than Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum. In that sense, it is the better of the two.
As a final note, on it’s release day Good & Evil found itself impressively #9 on iTunes Alternative charts. Then a glitch in the iTunes system erased the album from the iTunes website entirely. Even though it was back up a few days later, the momentum it once had was lost and the album found itself placed at #58. So it seems as though the aforementioned tireless journey of Tally Hall will not end here. Even if their music isn’t your style, this is an album worth listening to. Tally Hall is creating something that is incredibly unique, and that can be hard to come by.