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Album Review

The third album by Columbus, OH's Tiara kicks off with a self-indulgent piece of found tape noise mongering called "The Extended Forecast" that's as pointless and irritating as most similar experiments. Thankfully, however, it's only a little over a minute long, and after that initial misstep, things improve dramatically. The four-piece band mixes electronic textures into their primarily guitar-based songs in inventive ways, never letting the cool-for-cool's-sake sounds overwhelm the songs. A languorous atmosphere predominates, with indolent vocal harmonies and lazily strummed acoustic guitars the primary element in most of the songs. That narcoleptic atmosphere fits singer Eric Rottmayer's lyrics quite nicely; even the relatively upbeat-sounding "What We've Become" is downright depressive in its world view, and nearly every song on the album has a melancholy tinge to it. As a result, the songs tend to bleed together a bit more than necessary, but tunes like "Grandpa (Turns to Trains)" and the epic, My Bloody Valentine-like closer, "Nowhere Slow," are solidly melodic and musically intriguing enough to overcome that slight handicap.


Formed: Columbus, OH

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Columbus, OH-based indie pop combo Tiara was formed in 1995 by singer/guitarist Eric Rottmayer, also famed in underground circles for his solo project Metronome. Guitarist Brian Freshour, his bassist brother Craig and drummer Brian Moore soon completed the lineup, with the debut Tiara single "Birthmark" (a split release with Preston Furman) appearing in 1996; "Find the Time" followed a year later, and in 1998 the group issued its first full-length effort Calling the Whales on the Hub City label....
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