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The Tunics release ‘Dabblers Handbook’ on BMG, Monday 28th March

March 21, 2011 by  

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The Tunics release ‘Dabblers Handbook’ on BMG, Monday 28th March

From the suburbs of Croydon to the industrial bloc of former East Berlin, The Tunics have been quietly making a name for themselves as well as an album. The Tunics are Joe Costello (vocals/guitar), Scott Shepherd (bass), James Booth (keyboards) and Simon Hargreaves (drums). With a following that sees them packing German tours and gigs from Madrid to St. Petersburg, and debuting high into the German college charts with their first single ‘Low’, it only seems fitting to bring these boys back to the place where they began.

Being your typical British teenager, Joe Costello, grew up listening to The Libertines and decided to make his dream of “doing what The Libertines do” become a reality. At 16 years of age, and with his best mates in tow, Joe formed The Tunics in 2006 and started gigging all over their London town. Their first tentative release was a single, ‘Cost of Living’, back in 2008 and to their surprise the notoriously hard-to-please press were pleased. The Tunics found themselves in the maelstrom that is known to the more cynical amongst us as “the hot new band for the next five minutes” syndrome. It was a whirlpool of label offers and The Tunics felt they were being rinsed harder than a hot wash set to 90°. On spin.

Wisely, the boys opted to get outta this place and recognised that BMG could offer them more than just a record deal. They found themselves, not unlike another fab’ young foursome, on a plane to Germany and that is where their story really starts.

Their sound is a mix of influences; The Libertines, Cast and Oasis. The album is a melody-heavy, heart-on-the-sleeve affair, reminiscent of the greats from the Britpop era, when guitar bands were ruling the charts. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in the songs that we’re writing and the album that we have,” says frontman Joe. “Not to be too overblown about the whole thing but we’re ready for a proper f**king guitar band with actual songs. I think that’s what the world needs.”

The album opens with the dance-like-you’re-a-teenager-again track entitled ‘Berlin’ – an ode to the city of their rebirth. ‘Help Is On It’s Way’ is next up. Bass heavy, it drives the song forward like speeding traffic, barrelling up the westway. Third up ‘I’m Broke You’re Bored’ will be the second single release from the album: A poignant sentiment with the gently spiralling guitar and keyboards of Costello and Booth providing the soundtrack to it. ‘Stolen Hearts’ is the ballad of the album and a stand-out track complete with slide guitars that shine a western infused sunset light on the song. Next up is ‘Radio’, a beautiful string-laden piece of music that comes with one of the band’s sharpest-tongued lyrics. “I think the song is about everything on the radio being rubbish basically and just saying ‘I can’t bear this any longer, I need an outlet for myself.” Debut single ‘Low’ has a killer hook with layers of piano and guitar sounds. A soft interlude marks the half way point of the album and leads into the second half of the record: ‘Slaves Ride On These Waves’ is again haunted by a western air. The gently plucked guitar and folky balladry places it firmly in the desert, a lost Morricone. ‘You Already Knew’ picks up the tempo and from here on in the album is hitting the backbeat hard. ‘Shadows’ is a jaunty and upbeat psychedelic groover with a political stab. ‘Wit and Acid Tongue’, largely instrumental skiffles by with an undeniable and sometimes abstract sixties’ vibe. ‘A Moment of Clarity’ is the penultimate track on Dabblers Handbook and is a moment in time, an expansive breath and a gently rocking precursor to album closer ‘Dear God’, an epic and beautifully composed prayer of a track. The anthemic strings wrap the closing number into a gift of a finale

2011 is the year the guitar bands come back fighting to reclaim the land the synths stole momentarily. And The Tunics ‘Dabblers Handbook’ will be a heavy weight contender.



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