Tanaou - These Songs Are Our Only Alibis (Cover Artwork)


These Songs Are Our Only Alibis (2005)


To many of you, Tanaou are probably gonna sound pretty familiar. Whilst past lazy comparisons to Straylight Run and the Anniversary may have truth in them, I could spend forever listing melodic emo bands from the 1990s that these kids from the UK draw influence from.

The opening song, "My Summer Satire" features soft vocals from an undeterminable number of mouths floating over melodic guitar lines backed by a gentle piano. The song explodes into the more energetic choruses seamlessly before fading out completely. Like the name suggests, it's a summer song, bright and cheery, kicking the EP off to a great start with a pretty good indication of what's to come.

A weighty acoustic guitar riff opens the next song, "Time for a Change," the band's ode to the late Elliott Smith. The acoustic guitar weaves together with Defiance, Ohio-style violin and yet more piano and breathy vocals. The song gets quite repetitive but saves itself about a minute from the end by cranking the volume up to 11, catching the listener by surprise and belting out the final chorus with huge amounts of passion. Although it's on a more gloomy subject than the song before, "Time for a Change" remains optimistic and hopeful, calling for a change in our attitudes to our musical heroes.

"Scenes from the Passion" is a confused love song about coffee, chocolates and getting absolutely nowhere. Starting out in a similar vein to "My Summer Satire," there's the same 'melodic / slightly less melodic / melodic again' dynamic and multiple layers of vocals found in the first track. However, at around the halfway point, the chorus gives way to a crescendo of rising drums and violin that builds and builds before crashing gently back down to piano.

"History of a Nation" breaks the format of the last few songs as a simple drum beat takes the main role whilst the guitars and violins fire off in all directions. The female vocals stand out more on this track, adding to the song's meloncholy progression. Taking a darker turn at about two-and-a-half minutes in, the song ends up in a completely different place to where it started.

"Kissing Chaos Part 2" is little more than a short prelude to the next track, featuring only a watery, post rock-esque guitar sound, a fuzzy electronic beat, violin and echoey vocals before fading in to the EP's climax, "Kissing Chaos Part 3." Here, all the elements of the EP's previous tracks come together to create a fast-paced and energetic closer. Melodic guitars, violin and piano combine behind the singer, who this time sounds more passionate and more like the words are being ripped from him instead of just breathed out softly. It's easily the best song on the EP, with an anthemic chorus and an ending that will leave you breathless on the first listen.

In short, this EP is something special: an honest, heartfelt and beautiful piece of music for Mineral and Rilo Kiley fans made by a group of passionate, young people. The only complaints would be towards the structure, which is occasionally a little bit repetitive (a minor issue, really, because it's a good structure) and that, at 6 tracks and under 25 minutes, it's just not long enough.

Fortunately, though, a bigger, more epic full-length by the band is finished and ready for release some time this year. I cannot wait to see what else this band can do.