Rec Center - Tin Year
Record Label: New Granada
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Tin Year isn't a knock-your-socks-off album as far as intensity, but it's obvious that
intensity isn't the goal to begin with. Realism seems a more accurate description.
Rec Center explain the pun in their Freshman album's name on the band's info page:
"10 years of songs lying around waiting for the perfect moment.
10 years of marriage.
10 years of living with a debilitating disease.
The 10th year, the aluminum anniversary, the Tin Year."
Susie Ulrey(formerly of Pohgoh and The Maccabees) and Michael Waksman (The
Washdown, Zillionaire) bring a plethora of experience to the table, and Tin Year
The album opener, "Monster In Your Heart", is a song of comfort. Keeping a
steadily mellow tone, the almost whispering voice of Ulrey comes through with
simple commands to the listener; things that you might tell a friend who needs
some good advice and a friendly face.
"With no compass, you've been led
Down a path you never choose
Now your mind and body are braced
To see what lies ahead"
Now that I'm thinking about it, most of Tin Year is comforting. Although there are
several sad tracks, there's still that crumb of comfort that you'll get by the end of
the song. Possibly it's just my acceptingly contented attitude at the moment, but I
The second track, "Stolen", is suitably named, as it steals the show and catapults
the album to a level of likability that is an excellent starting point to lay the
foundation for the rest of Tin Year. Waksman takes the lead, and with Ulrey's
backing vocals, this soft, minimalistic track helps establish the swap of lead vocals
between tracks as a backbone of Rec Center's musical approach.
As good as Tin Year is, I don't think that it will be considered Rec Center's "Mona
Lisa". It's not that there's something physically missing; it's they haven't
completely tapped the obvious well of talent that they are. I'm not sure if they
even realize how stupidly genius some of their lyrics are. Songs like "Clumsy
Guest" sound almost as if they've taken entire conversations and added rhyme,
melody, and music. It's baffling how exactly innocent and candid some parts of the
record sound(e.g. "Stages") while keeping a deep, ponderous, metaphorical nature
in other parts(e.g. "Stolen").
For many bands, their first album ends up being their most favored one. But for
collaborative projects in general, it seems to stand that most have to work much
harder to achieve a cohesive sound throughout an album, and it sometimes takes a
Sophomore or Junior album to finally reach that point. Tin Year doesn't really have
that obvious struggle. This isn't exactly a surprise, though, given the 10 years that
they've had to mingle, bond, and nurture the growth of Rec Center. The result is a
product that inspires and comforts with simplicity and truth. What more could a
listener ask for?