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A Mark On the Pane

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Album Review

Melbourne's Tamas Wells doesn't share Jens Lekman's flair for self-deprecating humor. And the warm arrangements he and his band come up with make Mark on the Pane much less stark than the acoustic solitude of Kings of Convenience's Quiet Is the New Loud. But the melancholy and blind belief in romance that those artists possess is all over Wells' full-length debut. It's in his breathy, quiet singing, and the gentle guitar lines of "Even in the Crowds" or "Broken By the Rise"; it guides the gorgeous lullaby/love song sway of opener "When We Do Fail Abigail." Mark on the Pane feels more like a collection of moments than a cohesive album, despite the presence of two evocative instrumental segues in "Petit Mal at a Grand Occasion" and the aptly named "Seque in GM." Maybe it's the way Wells' supporting mates' contributions are limited to the subtlest brush of snare ("If You Bring Me Aubergines") or the quiet surge of a solemn organ ("Chandeliers"), putting the focus on his plaintive vocals and studied guitar — as bittersweet and beautiful as those elements are, they also make parts of Pane sound rather similar. Nevertheless, it's a wonderful debut with a clutch of unique, almost solemn melodies and enough lyrics about old photos and sad things coming in threes to make it comfort even the most melancholy of cockles.

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A Mark On the Pane, Tamas Wells
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