Tomberlin - I Don’t Know Who Needs to Hear This… Music Album Reviews

Tomberlin - I Don’t Know Who Needs to Hear This… Music Album Reviews
Sweeter and more inviting than anything she’s done before, the second-full length by Sarah Beth Tomberlin finds peace in the unraveling.

On her debut record, 2018’s At Weddings, Sarah Beth Tomberlin summed up her lyrical outlook: “To be a woman is to be in pain,” she lamented over muted piano and spectral reverb. “And my body reminds me almost every day.” The Brooklyn singer-songwriter often writes about characters who are constantly burdened: Whether they’re struggling with unrequited love or a Baptist upbringing, Tomberlin looks at small moments as a microcosm of larger, lifelong issues. Her 2020 EP Projections let in a little light, with playful songs about secret crushes and queer relationships, but religious trauma and fear still complicated the sapphic bliss of “Sin.” On her second full-length, I Don’t Know Who Needs to Hear This…, she loosens up and finds peace, if not quite joy, in the unraveling.

Working with producer Phil Weinrobe, Tomberlin surrounds these songs with layered percussion and lush arrangements, providing company as she struggles with isolation. Woodwinds creep in on “Unsaid” and synths throb on “Memory,” but even when she raises her voice on “Sunstruck” and “Stoned,” nothing can shake Tomberlin from the feeling of stasis in her lyrics. The percussive “Tap” is set during the first pandemic winter of January 2021, where she’s stuck watching mindless television and unloading in the DMs of people she hardly knows: “Talk to strangers like we already met/Even though it hasn’t happened yet.” Spirituality isn’t quite doing it for her either: A tarot card reading in “Unsaid” only makes her miss a toxic relationship, and a visit to church on “Born Again Runner” leaves her dissociating, “syncing my breath with the A/C.”

When Tomberlin’s songs leave the comfort of solitude, she reveals a versatility in her writing not always apparent under the weight of anxiety and depression. An uncertain dalliance on standout “Happy Accident” suggests the only thing more complicated than yearning for someone is actually developing the relationship: Across nearly six minutes, Tomberlin wrestles with feelings for a person who may or may not feel the same way. The unexpectedly funny “Collect Caller” swaps ambivalence for vitriol: “Collect caller/Don’t say you’re a baller/You’re a white boy living on your daddy’s dime.” A petty diss track towards a superficial “indie boy” sounds out of place on a record so emotionally closed off, but among these despairing stories of lost connection, his egotism looks even more shameless.

Vulnerability has powered Tomberlin’s music for years, and “Collect Caller” aside, these songs are sweeter and more inviting than anything she’s done before. One exception is the ending of “Stoned,” a fuzzy, pitch-shifted guitar solo that’s a jarring distraction from the record’s serenity. By contrast, “IDKWNTHT” is a strong addition to the canon of indie songs that sound like an adult coloring book, its major-key, looping chord progression evoking a nursery rhyme, give or take some expressive saxophones. Its tenderness is rare in Tomberlin’s anxious music, and rare even on this album. Guest vocalist and percussionist Felix Walworth of Told Slant provides call-and-response throughout the song, a playful, charming touch that feels like a sign of growth for a songwriter who has tended toward insularity. Even as she struggles to fight those instincts, the refrain brings a knowing smirk: “Sometimes it’s good to sing your feelings.” She knows, of course, that finding self-love is easier sung than done.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Tomberlin - I Don’t Know Who Needs to Hear This… Music Album Reviews Tomberlin - I Don’t Know Who Needs to Hear This… Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, May 06, 2022 Rating: 5

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