Tamaryn // Cranekiss
Recommended Track(s): Hands All Over Me
I don’t want to be Mr. Redundant Music Writer, parroting obvious shit like Lacey from Pootie Tang, but then again Cranekiss came out over the summer and it’s not like I’m sitting around Googling what some ivory tower goofball has already said about anything I review so let’s get this out of the way: Tamaryn = Sex. Sex with two extra X’s. Sex with something dark and formless. The molly-infused, up-til-dawn, drinking Charles Shaw out of a black Vivier high heel with a Succubus kind of sex. To even think about Cranekiss is to be assaulted by images of arched backs, moon-lit gooseflesh and sweaty collarbones.
First track in, Cranekiss seems par the course for Tamaryn. Keyboard washes and guitar flourishes like shifting neon sands, the fever pulse of the rhythm section and that ceaseless feeling of endless drowning. And just when you’re getting post-coital and comfy, the Bohemian Grove orgy turned Nagel painting dance party that is “Hands All Over Me” has you wanting to bust a choreographed jig in the middle of a New York intersection. Lots of ethereal goth-gaze acts profess a newfound devotion to Pop, but here Tamaryn seems to, dares to channel ‘86 Ms. Jackson. There’s a clear push-pull between Creation Record’s The Living Room & 80s NYC Discotheque. That’s this album’s trademark. If Cranekiss a 3 card tarot reading it’d be The Lovers, The Devil and The Moon. I can’t tell if I want to listen to this while a DAS BUNKER dominatrix tugs at my dog collar and licks the side of face before slapping the shit out of me or listen to this while spinning across an empty warehouse – arms a-fucking-flailin’ – like Janet in the “Pleasure Principal” video. Oh shit, don’t trip: I can do both.
The only thing working against this album can be summed in one word: Derivative. Let me say it two more times: Derivative! Derivative! Did “Derivativejuice” show up? No? Good. Because even though there are some eye-rolling “been there” moments, it’s saved by the feeling that it was sequenced by some kind of distant coolness: A bemused Grace Jones in a blue jumpsuit under a black light, face frozen under gold Raybans, being objective as fuck about the ebb-and-flow of each track. Distant, yet measured. You know: like they actually gave a shit.
It’s okay to be derivative in goth/gaze if you can take a step away and properly articulate influences through the writing: the how-why of Asylum Party’s always-perfect beats or the bleary-eyed slow burn of The Cure or the way Liz Frazier’s voice feels like angels are sing-dragging your heart through a field of dead stars. If you pay attention, they aren’t re-treads. They’re lessons. With that said, hardcore dark-gazers and other genre-junkies will probably skip this for not being a literal funeral procession (downcast eyes and everything), but if you take your naked midnight mania stirred up to the point of breathless abstraction, cop Cranekiss and play it at the highest possible volume at the moon’s highest possible point.