Going into this album, I had to admit that I was a little sceptical myself, even more so when I saw that Tilian were signed to Rise Records. I’ll be honest in saying that I was expecting another post-hardcore band with potential, and I am pleased to say that this album was nothing at all like what I was expecting.
The album opens with ‘Made of Plastic’. The mix of drums and electronica is very LANY and twenty one pilots’ inspired and the bass is plucky and piques your interest. The drums on this track are honestly kind of amazing, they sound very military inspired, even tribal. Mix that with the static instrumentals and it leaves you a fresh sounding track to welcome you to the record.
The album’s second track, ‘Cocky’, welcomes you with a real 80s synth pop vibe. This Paramore meets LANY. Even two songs in, one thing that I can definitely guarantee with this album is that these songs will be songs that you can replay again and again. Every time you hear them you would pick up something different, a different note, a different string. And though the drums on this track aren’t as complex as they were on the opener, the guitar carries the song forward so it’s not necessarily a problem.
Whilst the first two songs are peppy and upbeat, ‘Gone’ is slightly more sombre than its predecessors, with the EDM here taking a bit of a back seat. One of the things that makes this album shine is its ability to take subjects (such as failed relationships) and flip them into something that, musically, you’ve never heard before. This album definitely takes some gambles when it comes to its sound, and for the most part, it ends up working to the album’s advantage. Especially when it comes to the drums, in the first half of the album, they’re low and they’re demanding and they’re cheerful and just blend seamlessly into the songs. If anyone ever tells you that the drums are boring, they’ve clearly never heard a talented drummer. ‘Gone’ follows on from the narrative that was explored in ‘Cocky’, except that in this version, it isn’t his fault that the situation went sour, and he’s showing off that he’s doing better than ever.
When you get up to ‘Handsome Garbage’, this album starts to sound a lot more like what I was expecting when I first went into it. This is a binge album, without a shadow of a doubt. This is the kind of album that you listen to and actually listen to it. There’s no skipping songs and there’s no wondering how many songs you have left to get through. Having said that though, this is, I would say—the first weak track on the record. Lyrically, it’s one of the most intriguing—but in terms of the instruments, which up until now, have been a shining example of just how versatile instrumentation can be, sound a little off here. And, given the intricate nature of the rest of the songs, this one feels a little safe.
‘Hold On’ is a cute little ode about allowing yourself to trust others and also allowing others to trust you, and you’re met with huge soaring guitars, and it’s just beautiful to listen to.
‘Blame It On Rock And Roll’ is probably one of my favourite songs off the record. And, the whole time I was listening to these songs, I was trying desperately to think of who they reminded me of, and then it hit me: they sound like CRITICS, as they’ve got a very similar synth rock/pop vibe. The guitars on this song a lot more fast paced, a little jittery but of course it works. It’s a cheerful track about being scared of letting people down. The lyricism here is just full of self-deprecation (‘I’ll blame it on my guitar/I’ll deflect it’).
‘Drunken Conversations’ is definitely one of the most EDM inspired tracks on the record, and it’s not bad, it’s just a little surreal—given the blend of sounds that we’ve had during the rest of the album. And my problem isn’t necessarily with EDM, it’s the way that it can be utilised. Sometimes it can take great elements of a song and ruin them, and I do feel that this happened with this track. I feel like it was too much of an experiment, and unfortunately for me, it just didn’t work. It just sounded a little odd and out of place, and the chorus itself had something to be desired.
This album was a very pleasant surprise. I found myself loving it. The instrumentals were fantastic, and though the lyricism wasn’t ground breaking, what it lacked in that it made up through sheer passion and talent. This is an album that reminds you why people create. Because they love it, and it encourages you to pick up that hobby that you always wanted to learn but were never quite brave enough to. It reminds you that you can create for the sake of creating and proves to all of us that though originality might be dead, any idea is within your grasp if you’re brave enough to reinvent it. And really, despite the album’s name, there’s nothing ‘Skeptical’ about this record.
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