Released- January 23rd, 2007
Label- Eyeball Records
As a college student, I naturally have no cooking skills or patience (or tools). Thus, also like any good college student, I improvise. I watch Food Network. I dream about the delicious food that I will never taste. Crap, the microwave dinged. Anyways, I have noticed something watching so many cooking shows. Every recipe that is “traditional” or “mouth-watering” has hardly any ingredients. Some of the best things we eat feature only a few, strong elements that can keep us thinking about the taste long after we’re done eating. While listening to The Tiny’s latest record, Starring; Someone Like You, I am reminded of this phenomenon. To call this female fronted band minimalist would be unfair, but the simple arrangements can really do a number on the senses.
The Tiny are some talented musicians, though some tracks may make you think otherwise. As a three-piece, each member plays many different instruments like the pump organ, cello, piano, glockenspiel, musical saw (awesome) or synthesizer. These are obviously not all played at the same time, and each song is a delicate balancing act of warbling vocals over soft, almost nursery rhyme-like instrumentals. I would compare the singer Ellekari to a softer Bjork if the latter took a few singing lessons. If you have ever been to a show and seen an old(er) white lady doing that flowing, off beat, awful dance to a punk band, hand her Starring; Someone Like You. Watch her eyes fill with tears (or are those mine?) as she finally has found a band that is perfect for her ”creative”, very white dance moves.
In an almost ironic fashion, “Kind Of Like You” lets the listener know exactly what to expect from The Tiny. Each song is pretty much in the same vein as the one before: female melodies with light strings and some special guest star instruments (think Stan Lee in any comic book movie). Without usually noticing, each new instrument helped to keep me intrigued and interested. The first big change thrown out by The Tiny is in “Sorry”. The song features male vocals by a crooner named Ed Harcourt. The delicate duet between the two singers is beautiful. The strings and piano only add to the splendor.
“Dirty Frames” is one of the fastest (and best) songs on Starring; Someone Like You. The background vocals are a bit creepy (Ghosts!), but they work well with the frantic strings. “My Greatest Fear” is over seven minutes long, and it is a difficult track not to skip. The song has some overly ambitious arrangements and the middle could be cut out entirely. “Know Your Demons” is also very long, but much better done. The line, “Know your demons. They know you,” is repeated many times and forces the listener to reflect on how that lyric relates to their own life. Unless you’re a serial killer, self-examination is great! The closer, “Safe Than Sorry”, features a minstrel-like string arrangement and Ellekari matches the tone of the instruments perfectly. She mimics the sound of the picking strings and ends the album on quite an emotional note.
In a scene full of crunching (what does that even mean?) guitars and mind-numbing drums, The Tiny are a welcomed break. Sometimes we all have those moments (after a long shift at Baskin Robbins) where we need music to help us relax and unwind. This album has some entirely skippable sections, but it also has the power to turn some sexist, female vocalist haters to the so-called dark side of girl-fronted bands. Or, I guess it should be called the pink side? Well, apparently equating pink with women is sexist nowadays. Feminism makes things so complicated. I just hope they don’t expect me to cook.