Tiña in Leeds
Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
Saturday 13th February 2021, £8.00
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Freuds process of therapy was famously labelled the Talking Cure - through the act of conversation participants received cathartic relief. Positive Mental Health Music (PMHM), the debut album from South East London band Tiña, stems from this idea. Lead singer/songwriter Josh Loftin explains that he used the songs to work through a mental breakdown, and that for him writing is like solving a mystery.
The 11 track LP provides an honest and intimate portrait into this process of self-examination, covering themes of anxiety, depression, love, sex, isolation, fear and failure. Yet, PMHM is anything but a difficult listen: the tracks are catchy, lively - even danceable at times. Loftins cooing vocals, his lyrics poetic yet slightly self-mocking, sit atop a blend of psych-pop keys, drums and guitars, all guided by the shepherding hand of producer Dan Carey.
After singles I Feel Fine and Dip, Positive Mental Health Music is the first ever LP to be released on Careys Speedy Wunderground label.
Tiña is another success in South-East Londons thriving music scene. Whilst the area is hailed for the supposed rebirthing of Jazz, numerous exciting guitar bands have emerged in recent years, some of whom are former members of Tiña: Liam Ramsden (Mellah) Glenn Wild (Sleep Eaters) and Chris OC (Meatraffle & Phobophobes).
Todays line-up includes members of Uncle Tesco: Adam Cartwright (Bass & backing vocals), Ollie Lester (Lead Guitar) and George Davies (Drums). The recruitment process has been organic says fifth member Calum Armstrong (Keyboards) who also makes music as Pet Grotesque, we wouldnt have gravitated towards each other in the first place if we didnt all feel the way we do individually about life, love and music.
Brixton Windmill is key to the development of the band and its players. The pub-venue has provided a nurturing space for musical experimentation, with a particular bend to weirdo sh*t and people with strange personalities according Cartwright. Its a home and community for so many people says Lester.
That the album was written and recorded in London is hugely significant, in a practical sense the LP wouldve sounded completely different and much more stripped back had it not been produced within the above musical community says Loftin. The lyrics contain images of buses full of lonely people and dicks in the sky (perhaps a nod to Londons luxury tower blocks) give us a sense of an alienating city where the pressure to succeed and be happy contrasts with harsh realities.
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