Tamaryn / Gambles - live in Allston (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Tamaryn / Gambles

live in Allston (2015)

live show

Gambles were in the middle of their set upon arriving to Great Scott this mildly warm Tuesday night. They're not the easiest band to describe--really, the best I can come up with is slow-paced indie rock, with a little bit of twang and the occasional noisier dirge, but with an emphasis on cleanly sung vocals that were fully understandable, putting lyrical narratives front and center. They were a two-piece with just a vocalist/guitarist and drummer, but there were hints of the singer's voice that reminded me of Colour Revolt's Jesse Coppenbarger, and by extension, very quick flashes of musical similarity between them and that band. Not bad; I've definitely seen worse openers at these types of shows.

Tamaryn came onto the stage shortly thereafter with a modest demeanor and played a totally impressive and enjoyable 40 minutes or so--definitely a case of quality over quantity. The band is essentially the musical brainchild of their eponymous singer, Tamaryn, who's had a few different collaborators by her side dating back a few albums now. The most recent one, the newly released Cranekiss, involved Weekend's Shaun Durkan--though he unfortunately isn't with the live band on this tour, his contributions give Tamaryn's new stuff a subtle makeover that makes for a pretty infecting sound. They played as a standard four-piece with some samples and pre-programmed stuff, and killed it. The style's often classified as dream pop of the late '80s/Cocteau Twins variety, and while that's not off base at all, their Top 40 feel and dancier inclinations are really pronounced live. Tamaryn (the musician) is constantly shimmying and dancing around in the low red light, and their sound is more rhythmic than smeared, really. Hell, "Hands All Over Me" (which they played second) reminds me of an artier '80s-era Madonna. All of their songs came from Cranekiss as well, playing almost the entire album, and they all sounded fantastic. I didn't miss the old stuff too much though, as this kept it energetic, urgent, and especially cohesive, with audience members dancing along to various extremes.

Set list:

I Won't Be Found
Hands All Over Me
Sugar Fix
Fade Away Slow