Tamaryn’s first two albums often had moments of genius (“Love Fade,” “Heavenly Bodies”), but sometimes could feel one-note. Her third album, Cranekiss, is a big step forward because it feels like a much more complete album and vision from the singer, who collaborated with Weekend’s Shaun Durkan to make a more pop-influenced record.
Which isn’t to say Cranekiss is pop, exactly. It takes Tamaryn’s established shoegaze sound and adds a layer of sheen and brightness to it, resulting in songs that are more danceable than her previous efforts and recall some of the more upbeat moments of Cocteau Twins. The layers of sound and additional percussion give Cranekiss a wintry, romantic feeling, which is reminiscent of other bands but still feels like its own.
What I’ve always liked about Tamaryn — and especially on this album — is that it’s shoegaze-style music that is built around the singer, who in other similar bands often takes a backseat to the noise. While Cranekiss has many musical upgrades, they’re all done in service to her vocals, which shine even more with the slightly new direction. Tamaryn’s wide range and natural tone lends itself to dramatic songs, and Cranekiss makes good use of that talent with its lush sound.