Tara Jane O'NeilGnomon Song
Tara Jane O'Neil - with Monorail Exclusive Bonus Disc
Released: 8th December 2017
Monorail Album Of The Month, with Exclusive Demos & Rarities Bonus CD
A breathtakingly beautiful new work from Tara Jane O'Neil. Re-focussing on direct songwriting - albeit powered by a startling sense of space and harmony - Tara Jane O'Neil's eponymous album could be seen as a direct response to Where Shines New Lights, a record that our love still holds strong for. If anything, "Tara Jane O'Neil" is a graceful step further into singer-songwriter territory. O'Neil's voice is the most affecting it's ever been, a lilting instrument that somehow manages to convey unspoken pathos and yet still the listener's beating heart. O'Neil also makes a greater use of a full-band set up, with guest vocalists Chris Cohen, Carolyn Pennypacker-Riggs and Joan Shelley backing her up.
There is something dustily West Coast about this record, the soft brushes of the snare drum whispering an accompaniment to shimmering guitars dressing the stereo field, a sunset-inflected melancholy remaining sweet to the ear. Tracks like "Laugh" have a infinitely pleasing countrified lilt, almost like modern day Teenage Fanclub, while on other occasions O'Neil's vocal swoons recall the best Laurel Canyon experiments of David Crosby. Tara herself describes this work as her "Singer Songwriter" album with a typical downplaying tone, but within the tones and grooves here is a unique voice which far surpasses any genre specifications. We are so, so happy to have Tara back.
In addition to her self-titled LP, Tara has compiled a 30 minute mini album of rarities and demos exclusively for Monorail. Beginning with a deeply affecting version of Moon River, the set folds into Trick Rock, an organ work originally used in a dance piece by Christian Holstad at the Serpentine Gallery. Of the two demos here, Mettabando features O'Neil on all instrumentation, an almost bedroom-recorded sketch both sad and comforting at the same time, while Joshua Tree uses Neil Young-esque chord progressions to frame O'Neil's distinctive, plaintive vocal. True Love (Leaves No Traces) is a late night duet with Dan Littleton and Big Sky closes the mini album, a stark instrumental soundtracking a dusk in the desert of your dreams.