The Tamborines are not quite a Brazilian band. The two members, Lulu Grave (drums, vocals) and Henrique Laurindo (guitar, vocals) are indeed Brazilian, but the band resides, records and operates primarily out of London. Still, with their Brazilian roots and a small but solid Brazilian following, I judged appropriate to write about them here. After all, I am also a Brazilian expat.
Their second album, Sea of Murmur, was just released about a month ago, and though I have just recently discovered the band myself, I wanted to write about it while it was still relatively new.
The record is a collection of 11 well-crafted songs that feel at the same time refreshing and familiar. The melodies are nice to listen to to and the lyrics are melancholy, with a slight undercurrent of a deeper darkness in the instrumentation. It's a very effective combination, mostly because it never sounds insincere. This is the band showing who they are and what they like, and that's why it works. Laurindo and Grave are not trying to reinvent the wheel, but they are building one to their own specifications, and it runs smoothly.
The Tamborines' sound fits very comfortably in what we call indiepop. I would say there's an influence from The Lemonheads, Teenage Fanclub, as well as some vestiges of bands like Echo and the Bunnymen. Thinking of more contemporary bands, I could see them playing with a band like The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, who invokes similar influences, though through a different lens.
It's also interesting to compare Sea of Murmur to The Tamborines' previous effort, 2010's Camera & Tremor. Though the indiepop element were there as well, the compositions were rougher around the edges and the sound was more filled with fuzz and distortion. It worked and still works, and it compliments the urgency of the first record, but putting the two albums together makes it evident that the duo grew as songwriters in time that separates them.
Still, my favourite tracks on this album are the ones where they speed up the tempo and add a bit more distortion, such as "Black & Blue" and "Slowdown". What can I say? It's probably in my blood. I'd also highlight "Indian Hill", sung by Grave, and "Dreaming Girl", but the whole album is very solid and can be heard many times without tiring its listener.
Sea of Murmur is an unpretentious pop album in the best possible sense. It's not trying to change the world or pretending to be something it's not, but it's also not pandering or insulting the listener's intelligence. And we need more of those in the world.
You can follow The Tamborines on Tumblr, Twitter, or Facebook.
You can stream and purchase their albums digitally on Bandcamp, and buy physical records and gear via Big Cartel.
Below are two (very cool) videos from their Sea of Murmur.